Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Medieval History"

See other formats



HuiGme we 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2023 with funding from 
Kahle/Austin Foundation 

https :// 



DLondvon: FETTER LANE, E.C. 

€vinburgh: roo, PRINCES STREET 
Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO. 
Leipsiq: F. A. BROCKHAUS 
Bombay and Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., Lrp. 

All rights reserved 

Copyrighted in America 

| TY, 




epee Uae IVA 






lee Eee NIV RS LY ar ik Bo5 





Cambringe : 


AAO .\ 


| ies present volume of the Cambridge Medieval History covers the 

stormy period of about three hundred years from Justinian to 
Charles the Great inclusive. It is a time little known to the general 
reader, and even students of history in this country seldom turn their 
attention to any part of it but the Conversion of the English. Hence, 
English books are scarce—Dr Hodgkin’s Italy and her Invaders is the 
brilliant exception which proves the rule—and the editors have had to 
rely more on foreign scholars than in the former volume. Some indeed of 
the chapters treat of subjects on which very little has ever been written 
in English, such as the Visigoths in Spain, the organisation of Imperial 
Italy and Africa, the Saracen invasions of Sicily and Italy, and the early 
history and expansion of the Slavs. 

Professor Dieh] begins with two chapters on Justinian, one dealing 
with the conquest of Africa and Italy by Belisarius and Narses, and the 
imperial restoration in the West, the other devoted to the administration 
in the East—the Empress Theodora and her influence, Justinian’s 
buildings and diplomacy, and government civil and _ ecclesiastical. 
The city of Constantinople is reserved for the same writer in 
Volume IV. Dr Roby follows, with a general survey of Roman Law, of 
its history and growth, and of its completion by the legislation of 
Justinian. A survey of this kind has hardly been attempted since the 
famous forty-fourth chapter of Gibbon. Then Professor Pfister takes 
up the story of the Franks at the accession of Clovis, where he left it in 
the first volume, and traces the growth and decline of the Merovingian 
kingdom to the deposition of the last of the rots fainéants. He then 
follows it up with another chapter on the political and social institutions 
of Gaul in Merovingian times—the King, the Mayor of the Palace, the 
Bishop, the origin of the benefice, the state of literature and commerce. 
In the next chapter we turn with Dr Altamira to the Visigoths in 
Spain, and follow their stormy history from the defeat at Vouglé, through 
the Councils of Toledo, to the times of Count Julian and the Saracen 
Conquest, and to some further discussion of Gothic law. The next writer 

vi Preface 

is Dr Hartmann, who traces the early history of the Lombards and their 
settlement in Italy, their conversion and the story of Theodelinda. 
After her come Rothari and Grimoald, and the great king Liutprand, 
and parallel with the main narrative is traced the history of the duchies 
of Friuli and Spoleto. So he comes to the conquests of Aistulf and the 
Frankish intervention, and then to the reign of Desiderius, under whom 
the Lombard power seemed to reach its height—and vanished in a moment 
at the touch of Charles the Great. The next section, also by Dr Hart- 
mann, is on the Byzantine administration of Africa and Italy. Its special 
interest is the development of local powers in Italy—not only the 
Pontifical State, but Venice and other cities. We can see before the 
fall of the Byzantine power that Italy will be a land of cities. Then 
Archdeacon Hutton takes up the life of Gregory the Great. He has to 
tell of Gregory’s administration and his measures for the defence of 
Rome from the Lombards, of his dealings with Emperor and Patriarch, 
of his relations with Brunhild and 'Theodelinda, and of his oversight of 
all the Western churches, reserving only the Mission to the English for 
a later chapter. Then Mr Norman Baynes gives a living picture of 
Justinian’s successors—the unpractical Justin, the pedant Maurice, the 
crusader Heraclius, and of the tremendous vicissitudes of the Persian 
War, with Persians and Avars at one time besieging Constantinople, and 
Heraclius within two years winning the battle of Nineveh, and dictating 
peace from the heart of Media. The next three chapters are devoted 
to Islam. If this is the most brilliant part of Gibbon’s narrative, it is 
also the part which more than almost any other needs revision in the 
light of later research. Professor Bevan begins with the life of Mahomet, 
and Dr Becker of Hamburg follows with the expansion of the Saracens, 
relating in one chapter their conquest of Syria and Egypt, the overthrow 
of Persia, and the rise and fall of the Umayyads. In another he traces 
their westward course through Africa and Egypt to Spain till their 
defeat at Tours, and then turns to the formation of Muslim kingdoms, 
their conquest of Sicily and their attacks on Italy to the coming of the 
Normans. Mr Brooks takes the successors of Heraclius to the coming 
of Leo the Isaurian. The chief topics of this chapter are the advance 
of the Arabs and their attacks on Constantinople, the history of 
the Monothelete Controversy, and the fall of the Heraclian dynasty. 
Dr Peisker takes us into a new region, describing the original country of 
the Slavs, their society and religion, and their modes of warfare. He 
then discusses their place in history, their relations to their German and 
Altaian conquerors, their spread on the German border and in the 
Balkan countries, and the new social conditions which prevailed when 

Preface vil 

Slav states became independent. Professor Camille Jullian’s section on 
Keltic heathenism in Gaul goes back to the times of Caesar, but it 
coheres closely with Sir E. Anwyl’s pages on Keltic heathenism in the 
British Isles. These are placed here rather than in the former volume 
for the purpose of bringing them into connexion not only with Germanic 
heathenism but with the Christianity which replaced them. Our material, 
not rich for Gaul, is scanty for Britain: it is only when we come to 
Germanic heathenism—the section taken by Miss Phillpotts—that we 
seem to see the living power of the religion. The next is an analogous 
chapter devoted to Christianity. Mr Warren first tells us the little that 
is known of Christianity in Roman Britain, then relates the story of its 
spread to Ireland and Scotland. In another section Mr Whitney traces 
first the conversion of the English from Augustine’s landing through the 
reigns of Edwin and Oswald to the decisive victory at Winwaedfield, 
followed by the Synod of Whitby and the coming of Theodore. He 
then turns to Germany, where the story gathers round the names of 
Columbanus, Willibrord and Boniface, and stops short of Charles the 
Great’s conversion of the Saxons by the sword. Mr Corbett takes up 
the history and institutions of the English from Edwin’s time to the 
death of Offa. The thread of his narrative is the growth of Mercia— 
the ups and downs of its long struggle under Penda with Northumbria, 
the revolt under Wulfhere, and the formation of the commanding power 
wielded by Aethelbald and Offa. Its overthrow by Ecgbert belongs to 
the next volume. Mr Burr contributes a short chapter on the eventful 
reign of Pepin—a man whose fame is unduly eclipsed by that of the 
great Emperor who followed him. Its main lines are the change of 
dynasty, the intervention in Italy, the Donation, and the conquest of 
Aquitaine. Then Dr Gerhard Seeliger surveys the Conquests and 
Imperial Coronation of Charles the Great. He begins with the destruc- 
tion of the Lombard kingdom, the precarious submission of Benevento 
and the settlement of Italian affairs: then come the disaster of 
Roncevalles and the gradual formation of the Spanish March. After 
this the annexation of Bavaria, the break-up of the Avars, and the long 
wars with Saxons and Danes. ‘There remain the idea of the Empire, the 
events which led to the Coronation and its meaning, and Charles’ relations 
to the Eastern Empire. Professor Vinogradoff then discusses the 
foundations of society and the origins of Feudalism. He describes the 
various forms of kinship, natural and artificial, the organisation of 
society, the growth of kingship, taxation, the beneficium, and the fusion 
of Roman and Germanic influences which resulted in Feudalism. 
Dr Seeliger returns to the legislation and administration of Charles the 

Vili Preface 

Great. He marks the theocratic character of the Carlovingian State, 
and proceeds to describe the king and his court, the royal revenues, the 
military system, the assemblies, the legislation, the provincial officials, 
the missi dominici, and the failure of the central power, and of the 
Empire with it. Dr Foakes-Jackson concludes with a survey of the 
growth of the Papacy, chiefly from Gregory to Charles the Great—of its 
relations to the Empire and the Lombards, of its negotiations with the 
Franks, of the Frankish intervention and the beginnings of the Temporal 
Power, and of the circumstances and significance of the Imperial 
Coronation. He covers much the same period as Professor Seeliger, 
but he puts the Papacy instead of the Franks in the foreground of his 

We are indebted to our critics for many hints and some corrections, 
and we gratefully acknowledge their appreciation of the splendid work 
done by Dr Peisker and others of our valued contributors: but on one 
important question we are quite impenitent. The repetitions of which 
some of them complain are not due to any carelessness in editing, but to 
the deliberate belief of the Editors that some events may with advantage 
be related more than once by different writers in different connexions 
and from different points of view. Thus, to take an instance actually 
given, the sack of Rome by Gaiseric is a cardinal event in the history of 
the Vandals, and a cardinal event in that of the last days of the Empire 
in the West. In which chapter would they advise us to leave it out? 
Repetitions there must be, if individual chapters are not to be mutilated. 
Nor are we much concerned about occasional disagreements of our 
contributors, though we have sometimes indicated them in a note. 
Consistency is always a virtue in a single writer; not always in a 
composite work like this. We have often called the attention of one 
contributor to the fact that another is of a different opinion ; but we 
see no advantage in endeavouring to conceal the fact that students of 
history do not always come to the same conclusions. 

Our best thanks are due to Miss A. D. Greenwood for the laborious 
work of preparing the maps and the index: also to Professor Bevan for 
settling the orthography of unfamiliar Oriental names. 

April 1913, 




By Cuartes Dien, Member of the Institute of France, 

Professor at the University of Paris. 

Accession of Justin 
Justinian’s character 
Justinian’s aims 

Last years of Theodoric 

The Persian War. 

The Nika riot 

The Byzantine army 
Conquest of Africa 

Conquest of Italy. 

Totila . : 

End of the Gothic kingdom 
Imperial position of Justinian 
Administration in Africa and Italy 
Results of Justinian’s reign . 



By Professor CHartes DtEHt. 

Early life and marriage of Theodora . 
Her religious policy 

The Persian Wars 

The Huns : 

Justinian’s fortresses and oiher buildings 
Justinian’s diplomacy . : 
Domestic government of the East 
Constantinople and its trade 

Fiscal oppression . 

The Church . : ; 

Dealings with the Monophysites F 

Pope Vigilius 5 
Last years and results of J ustinian’s reign . 

C. MED. H, VOL. II. 



By H. J. Rosy, M.A., Hon. LL.D. Camb. and Edin., 
Hon. Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. 

Modern influence of Roman Law : : , : ; ; 53 
Sources of Law . : ; 2 : ‘ , : 7 54 
The Codex Pneddanenis , : : : 2 : : j 55 
Barbarian revisions of it . : : ; ; j : 2 57 
Legislation of Justinian : : ‘ : ‘ 3 ; : 59 
Slaves, Freedmen, Serfs : : ; : ; : F F 62 
Patria potestas—Adoption . : : : ‘ : : : 66 
Guardianship é : 7 P : : : : : : 68 
Marriage : : : : 4 5 , 2 : : 70 
Divorse : : ; : : : : 7 
Concubinage and Legitimation : ; : : : : . 76 
Wills and Inheritance . : ; : , ‘ ‘ , ; 78 
(inuctsame : 2 : ; é : ’ A : : : 82 
Intestacy : : : : : : : - Sa nyeee 85 
Gifts. 2 : : : : é 87 
Property —Servitudes—Bmphyteusis : : 4 ; : : 88 
Obligations . : : : 2 : = A 90 
Toren sreticns : : : f . : ; 92 
Purchase and Sale—Lease nad Hire ; 5 : : : : 94 
Partnership—Companies : : : : ; ; : - 95 
Delicts . ; ; : i : ; ‘ e : : . 99 
Procedure. : i ; : : : : 4 : : 100 
Evidence : ‘ ; ‘ ; ‘ ; ‘ : : : 101 
Criminal Law : : , : : 2 : : . : 103 
Crimes . : 5 3 ; : : : : : : , 105 
Punishments F : , : d ; : . : 107 
Heresy . ‘ : : . : : é : : : : 108 



By Dr Curistran Prisrer, Professor in the Faculty of 
Letters, of Paris. 

Gaul at the accession of Clovis . ‘ 2 : ; d : 109 
Beginnings of Clovis. ‘ : : : : : : 111 
Conversion of Clovis. : j 5 : : : : ; 112 
Battle of Vouglé . : ; : , ; : : : ; 114 
The sons of Clovis . . 5 ; F ; 116 

Conquest of the Burgundian kingdom. : : ; ; ‘ 117 


Armorica . 

The Franks in Italy 

The grandsons of Clovis 
Chilperic : : 


Reunion under Chlotar Il 

Reign of Dagobert 

The fainéant kings 

Battle of Tertry . 

Charles Martel shen of the Palace 
Battle of Tours : 
Pepin becomes king 



By Professor Curistran PFIsTER. 

The King . 

‘The Campus Martius 

The Mayor of the Palace 

Local administration 

Justice . 


The Army . 

The Church—the Bishops 
Relations with the Papacy . : 
Monasteries—Columbanus—Benedictine Rale 
Origin of Vassalage 

Origin of the Benefice . 

Industry and Commerce 

Venantius Fortunatus—Gregory of Tours 




By Dr Rararet Auramira, Director- general of Primary Instruc- 

tion (Ministry of Public Instruction) ; 
of Jurisprudence in the University of Oviedo. 

Alaric II—Battle of Vougleé. 
Death of Clovis : 


Religious division . : 
Revolt of Hermenegild 

late Professor 



Reign of Recared . ‘ 

Conversion of the Vises 
Swinthila—Expulsion of Byzantines 

Reign of Chindaswinth 


Wanibale Bewig = Keica 

Persecution of the Jews 

Witiza—Roderick . 

Story of Count Julian . : 

Battle of La Janda—Arab Conquest 
Councils of Toledo ‘ : 
Mutual influences of the Goths oat Spain : 
Literature and Art of the Goths . 



By Dr L. M. Harrmann, Privatdocent, Vienna. 

Early history of the Lombards 
Alboin’s invasion of Italy 
Spoleto and Benevento 

Authari ¢ 

Theodelinda and Agilulf 

Duchy of Friuli 
Rothari—Grimoald . 
The Bavarian dynasty—Perctarit. 
Roman influence—Government 
Society . : 

Reign of Liutprand 
Ratchis—Aistulf . 

The Frankish Intervention . 
Desiderius  . 

End of the Demterd kingdom 
Causes of its fall 




By Dr Harrmann. 

Foundation of Imperial Administration 
The Exarch . : 

Militarising of the arabs ctcition 

The Church and the Administration 

Effect of the Italian Revolution . 
Pontifical State under Byzantine eweraintys 
Venice, Naples, Amalfi 


Contents xiii 


By the Ven. W. H. Hurroy, B.D., Archdeacon of Northampton, 
Canon of Peterborough, Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. 

Early life of Gregory . A : 3 3 ; 5 : é 236 
Gregory at Constantinople . : : 3 ; : ; 5 238 
Gregory Pope : ; : ; : : : : ; 240 
Gregory’s administration : , : F é : : 3 242 
Disputes with the Emperor . : : : : : 5 : 245 
Controversy with John the Faster ; : : : : : 247 
Church and State ; : : : ; : é A 248 
Dealings with the Lombards 5 : : : : c ‘ 249 
Gregory and Phocas. . : : : : : : 6 0 250 
Historical position of Gregory  . : : : ; : : 251 
Relations with Africa . 5 ‘ : : : ; : : 252 
Mission to the English ; : : : ; ; : : 254 
Relations with Gaul. : 5 : ‘ : : : 256 
Gregory and the Visigoths . : : é : ‘ : 6 259 
Character and influence of Gregory . 5 : 3 : H 261 


By Norman H. Baynes, M.A. Oxon., Barrister-at-Law. 

Accession and Policy of Justin II : ; : : 4 ; 263 
Negotiations with Persia. ( : : : ; s , 266 
Avars and Turks . : : - ; 5 é . d ; 268 
The Persian War. : : : : ; ‘ : ; ; 271 
Policy of Tiberius : , “ : : : ; i ; 273 
Tiberius Emperor. : ; ; : : : : : . 275 
Maurice Emperor. : : : : : ; ; 277 
Chosroes restored by Maurice ; : : ‘ ; ; ; 280 
Campaigns on the Danube . : é ; A . 281 
Phocas Emperor—Character of Maurice ; : : 3 2 282 
Persian War 5 5 : : 5 : 3 285 
Revolt of Africa—Heraclius “Emperor ; : : : : ; 287 
Persian War—Capture of Jerusalem . 3 , ; ; 5 289 
The Avar Surprise : j : : - é : . : ale 
Invasion of Persia 3 : : : : : 3 . 293 
Siege of Constantinople / : ; ; : 295 
Battle of Nineveh—March on Ctesiphon : : 6 : : 298 
Peace with Persia ; d : : 5 : 3 299 

Character of Heraclius. 300 

Xiv Contents 


By A. A. Bevan, M.A., Lord Almoner’s Reader and Professor 
of Arabic in ae University of Cambridge. 

Sources of our knowledge . : : : : : : : 302 
Arabia before Islam . : - . : : ; < : 303 
Mecca . : , : : E : ; ; : 304 
Early life of Mahomet ‘ : - : : 305 
Doctrine of the Koran—Religious practices. : : : - 308 
Opposition of the Meccans . : 5 : : ‘ : : 310 
The Flight to Medina . : : - : 313 
Legislation of the Koran—-Mahomet’s domestic life . : : 315 
Battles of Badr and Uhud . ‘ : ; ; : : : 317 
Siege of Medina . : ¢ : : : : ‘ ; - 320 
Treaty with the Meccans . : . ; é 4 ; ; 322 
Capture of Mecca. : : : é ‘ = ; : ; 324 
Death of Mahomet : : : : ; . ‘ ; ' 327 



By C. H. Becker, Professor of Oriental History in the 
Colonial Institute of Hamburg. 

Historical aspect of Islam _ . : : ; - : : : 329 
The Arab Migration 

Abt Bakr Caliph. 333 
The Ridda War 335 
Khalid on the Euphrates 338 
Battle of Ajnadain—of the Yermate 341 
Omar Caliph : : : : ' : ; ; ; 342 
Capture of Jerusalem . : 5 : ; : : 345 
Fall of Ctesiphon—Conquest of Persia ; : - : 347 
Egypt—The Mukaukis Problem . : : : : : é 349 
Conquest of Egypt : ¢ 351 
Wars in Armenia 353 
Attacks on Constantinople 354 
Othman Caliph 355 
Ali and Mu‘awiya 357 
Mu‘awiya Caliph . 358 
Murder of Husain at Karbala 359 
Organisation of the Arabian Empire 861 

Later Umayyad Tae ‘ : i j : : 363 
The Abbasids : 5 ; : ‘ . . : : 





By Professor Brecker. 

Occupation of Alexandria . , ; : : : : é 366 
Attacks on Byzantine Africa : : ; A : - é 367 
Pacification of Africa . : : 3 . A ; : c 370 
Conquest of Spain ; é ; : : 371 
Crossing of the Pyrenees—Baitle of aes ; : : ; 373 
Saracen failure in Gaul : ; : ; : : 5 : 375 
Fall of the Umayyads . ‘ : ; 5 : 377 
Northern Africa—Idrisids and Fatimites : ; : : ; 378 
Conquest of Sicily ' : 2 ; ; : ; : 5 380 
Invasion of Italy . : . : ; 5 : : ; é 383 
Attack on Rome . : : : : : ; , ; 385 
Byzantine conquest of Bari . ; : 4 - : 6 , 387 
Decline of the Saracen power. : 5 A : 3 : 389 


By E. W. Brooxs, M.A., King’s College, Cambridge. 
Death of Heraclius ; ; : ‘ : 6 ; : ; 391 
Constans Emperor : : : 3 : 7 3 b ; 392 
Constans in Italy. : : A : c ; : A é 394 
Constantine [IV Emperor. : c : : : 3 395 
Saracen attacks on Constantinople : : : : : ? 397 
The Monothelete Controversy—Pope Honorius . ; ; ; 398 
Arrest and deposition of Pope Martin. : : ; > : 401 
Sixth General Council . ' : ‘ ; : : ; ; 404 
Justinian I] Emperor . : F : ; : , ; : 406 
Trullan Council . : ; ; : 3 : : : 3 408 
Leontius Emperor : ; ; : : ; ; : : 409 
Tiberius (Apsimar) Emperor ; : : 4 : : ; 410 
Justinian restored : : é , ; , : : 411 
Philippicus Emperor E : 5 , 9 413 
Anastasius IJ Emperor : : : : : : ’ : 415 
Theodosius Emperor . : : 5 : ° 5 : 416 

Accession of Leo the Neanrian F : é - : : : 417 

xvi Contents 
By T. Petsxer, Ph.D., Privatdocent and Librarian, Graz. 

Polesie—Soil, climate, anthropology . ; : : : : 418 
Village-Community—Agriculture . : : : : : ; 422 
National character—Religion . : : : : 424 
Early Expansion— Waterways—Pontus Steppe : : : : 426 
Commerce—Slave-hunts ; : é : ‘ : : 428 
Slavs in German and Altaian Slavery . : : : ; : 430 
Expansion of the Slavs in Old Germania . : : : . 435 
Avars and Slavs . : : : ‘ : ‘ ; : : 436 
The Roumanians . F ; : 3 : ; : : 440 
End of the Avar power : : ‘ 3 : : 4 : 442 
The Zupans : : : : : . : é 443 
The Alpine Slavs ‘(Slovenes) ° : : 3 ; : ; 445 
Social history of the Slovenes. : : : : : 446 
Peasant-Princes in Bohemia and Poland : ; : : : 448 
Samo’s kingdom . : : : : : ; : : : 452 
Influence of Avar Slavery . S : ; : : : F 453 
Defensive power of the Slavs . ; ; : : : ‘ 455 
Elbe-Slavs and Vikings A : : : : : : : 456 
Social ideas of the Slavs. : : : : : : s 457 

By Camitir Juiiian, Professor of the College of France, 
and Member of the Institute. 

The Gods . : 5 : : ‘ : : : : 460 
Worship of the dead ‘ : ‘ : : é ‘ ; ‘ 461 
Star-gods—National gods. : ; : ‘ : : : 462 
Representation of the gods . : F : : : : ; 464 
Sacred animals and plants . : : ‘ ; : : : 465 
Sacred buildings . ; ; : : : : A ‘ : 466 
Doctrine : : : : : ; : E : - : 467 
Druidism : : : : ; : : ; : : 468 

Literature . : A : . : ‘ 5 : 471 




By Professor Sir Epwarp Anwyt, M.A., University College, 


The Gods 


Legendary names : 

Evidence of Chrisians—-Follelore 
Survivals of heathenism 


By Miss B. Puitirorrs, Lecturer of Girton College, 

Sources of our knowledge 

Thor or Thunor 

Odin or Wodan 3 

Nerthus—other deities . 

Fate—Cult of the dead 

Chthonic deities—other objects of worship . 
Sacrifices— Priests— Kings ; : 
Funeral customs—Life after death 
Underlying ideas . 


By Rey. F. E. Warren, B.D., Rector of Bardwell, 
Bury St Edmunds. 

(1) Romayn Britain. 

Introduction of Christianity . 
British Bishops and Saints . 
Orthodoxy of the Britons 

Remains left by the British Church 

(2) Irevann. 

Introduction of Christianity . 
Times before St Patrick 
Work of St Patrick 
Survivals of heathenism 

(8) Scornanp. 

Sources of our knowledge 
Conversion of Strathclyde 
Conversion of the Picts 


XViil Contents 


By the Rev. J. P. Wuirney, B.D., Professor of Ecclesiastical 
History, King’s College London. 

(1) Tue Ene.isu. 

Pope Gregory ; : : ; ; : ; : : , 515 
Augustine’s Mission. : 2 . : : ; : 516 
Gregory's scheme of division : : : ; : : : 519 
Kelts and Romans ; ; ‘ ; ‘ ; ; 4 : 520 
Northumbria—Edwin . : ; : ; ; : : : §22 
Paulinus—Death of Edwin . : F : ; : : 524 
Monastic Houses—Bede ; 5 : : ‘ , : . 526 
The Scots Mission ; F ; : : : P : 528 
Wilfrid—Synod of Whitby . ; 2 : : : : : 530 

(2) Germany. 
The Keltic Monks : . : ‘ : : , : 2 533 
Willibrord . : : ; : ‘ : : ’ : 535 
Winfrid (Boniface) ; : é : : : ; : : 536 
Organisation of Sees. ‘ . : ; ; : - : 538 
Pope Zacharias . : : ° . ; : : ; ; 539 
Councils 3 , : ; : : é ‘ : : 540 
The work of Bonee : : : ; ; 2 , , : 541 
By W. J. Corzerr, M.A., Fellow of King’s College, 

Growth of Mercia—Battle of Heathfield . : ; : : 543 
Oswald of Bernicia : : : j : : ; : : 545 
Battle of the Winwaed : E : . , : : d 547 
Changes made by Christianity. : ; 5 : : : 548 
Introduction of the Hidage System . : : : : : 550 
Revolt of the Mercians against Oswy . ‘ : , 3 A 552 
Ascendancy of Mercia . : : : : 2 : : : 553 
Synod of Whitby . : : : : : : ; : : 554 
Theodore of Tarsus : . : F d ; F . : 555 
Subdivision of dioceses. : ; . : ‘ : : ; 556 
Endowment of the Church . ‘ 3 : . 558 
Battle of Nechtansmere—Death of Theodore : * : : 559 
Wessex under Ceadwalla and Ine : ‘ : ; ; ; 560 
Aethelbald of Mercia . : < : : : 563 
Reign of Offa—Archbishopric of Lichfield : ; : : : 564 
Socal Organisation of the English . : : é : 5 566 
The Witan 5 i . a : ; ; ‘| : : 569 
Tendencies to Feudalian : : , . ; : : ; ail 
Schools and Scholars . : 3 ‘ ‘ : : : : 513 

Bede— Alcuin : . : A ; ; : ; ; 574 

Contents XIX 
By G. L. Burr, Professor of Modern History, Cornell 
University, Ithaca, N.Y. 
Pepin as Mayor of the Palace 575 
Affairs in eee apenas Lombards 577 
Pepin King . : : 581 
Aistulf’s claims 582 
The Pope in Francia ; 584 
Pepin Patrician of the Romans 585 
The Donation of Constantine 586 
The Donation of Pepin 588 
The Frankish Intervention . 589 
Desiderius King of the Lombards 591 
Pepin’s wars—Conquest of Aquitaine . 592 
Character of Pepin 594 
By Dr Geruarp SEELIGER, Professor of Law in the 
University of Leipsic. 

Charles and Carloman . 595 
The Donation of Constantine 597 
The Patriciate  . 598 
End of the Lombard inedar 599 
Settlement of Italian affairs . 600 
Charles and the Pope . 603 
Invasion of Spain—Roncevalles 604 
Bavaria—Deposition of Tassilo 606 
The Avars : 608 
The Saxon Wars . 610 
The Danes 614 
Ecclesiastical affairs 616 
Idea of the Empire 617 
Pope Leo III ; 619 
The Imperial Coronation and its cneating : 620 
Relations with the East 624 
Death of Charles . : 625 
Charles in Legend and in Wietory 626 

sek Contents 

By Paut Vrnocravorr, Hon. D.C.L., F.B.A., Corpus 
Professor of Jurisprudence, Oxford. 

Kinship 631 
Later traces of kinship é 634 
Adoption and artificial relationships 635 
Households . ’ i 637 
The Gave. 639 
Growth of Kingship 640 
Power of the Kings 641 
Comites, Sajones, Huskaris 642 
Taxation 644 
Tenures by Service 647 
The Beneficitum 648 
Jurisdictions . , 651 
Distinction of Classes . 5 653 
Roman and Germanic influences . 654 

By Dr Gerard SEELIGER. 

Theocratic character of the Frankish State. 656 
Administration 657 
Unification of the Bmpire 659 
The King 660 
The Court 662 
The Revenue 664 
Military Service 666 
Judicial System 668 
Assemblies and their Dechae 669 
Law—The Capitularies . 672 
Local Government 677 
The Counts . 678 
The Marches 680 
The Missi Dominici 682 

The Empire . 





By the Rev. F. J. Foaxrs-Jacxson, D.D., Fellow of Jesus 

College, Cambridge. 

Progress of the Lombards 
Rome and Church Doctrine. 
Dictation of the Emperors 
Monotheletism—Iconoclasm . 
Pope and Lombards 
Negotiations with the F Pans 
Boniface : é 
The Frankish nucle F 
Donation of Pepin : 

Fall of the Lombard kingdom 
Outrage on Pope Leo UL 
Carolus Augustus . 
Significance of the Coronation 




IV, V. 


VIII (a). 

VIIE (2). 

XTeex Le 

XV (a). 
XV (38). 
XV (c). 
XVI (4). 

XVI (2). 






Abbreviations ‘ 

General Bibliography for Velie a 

Justinian. The Imperial Restoration in the 
West . : 

Justinian’s Conerment in fee Hee 

Roman Law . 

Gaul under the Aeroingian hae 

Spain under the y ratlis 

Italy under the Lombards : 

Imperial Italy and Africa (administration 

Gregory the Great 

The Successors of Justinian . 

Mahomet and Islam 

The Expansion of the Saracens 

The Successors of Heraclius . 

Expansion of the Slavs. 

Gallic Religion 

Celtic Heathendom in fe British ine 

Germanic Heathendom . , ; : 

(1) British Christianity in Roman _ times. 
(2) Conversion of Ireland. (3) Conversion 
of Scotland : : 

(1) Conversion of the “Bnglich: “) Con- 
version of the Germans : 

England (to c. 800) and English Tastinmtione : 

The Carolingian Revolution and Frank Inter- 
vention in Italy. 

Conquests and Imperial Cornecan of Chae 
the Great . 

Foundations of Society . 

Legislation and Administration of Chicks: ie 
Great . : 

Growth of the Papal Poae : 













(See separate portfolio.) 

The Empire at the end of Justinian’s Reign. 
Empire of Charles the Great. 
England, circa a.p. 700. 
The Eastern Frontier of the Empire in the 6th and 7th Centuries. 
Frankish Dominions, a.p. 511—561. 
Gaul under the sons of Chlotar I, a.p. 568. 
Spain, to illustrate the Visigothic Era. 
Italy under the Lombards. 
Arabia and Egypt. 
The Caliphate under Hartin-er-Rashid and the Saracen Conquests. 
Eastern Europe, circa a.p. 850. 
The Western Front of Slavdom in the 7th and 8th Centuries s.p. 
The Western Front of Slavdom in the 7th and 8th Centuries a.p, 
Scotland and Ireland, to illustrate the Conversion of the Celts. 






ge} lnaP ahs lneh ta= 



Vou. I. 

. 189, 1. 18. For finetini read finitimi. 

1. 10 from foot. For Mittenberg read Miltenberg. 

note. For Kessima read Kossinna. 

. 194, 1. 7. For Endusi read Sedusi. 

. 199, 1. 19. For Daeid read Dacia. 

note % For Damaszewski read Domaszewski. 

. 277, 1. 19. Delete by force of arms. 

. 468, ll. 39, 42. For Eudoxia read Eudocia. 

. 518, 1. 15. For addition read Peter’s addition. 

1, 16. For Peter’s Theopaschite read it. 

. 615, BEC. or Chartres read Chartes. 

628, Pears. or Contemporary Review read EHR. 

630, Julian. After Rheinisches Museum add xu (1887), pp. 15-27 and 

delete Frankfurt-a-M. 1827.... 

631, 1. 19. For Nicephorus, Callistus read Nicephorus Callistus. 

. 633, Kellerbauer. For x1, pp. 81-121 read 1x, pp. 181-221. 

634, 1. 1. Delete full stop after Julian. 

641, Teuffel. For geschichtlichen Wiss. read Geschichtswiss. 
Strauss. For Thron read Throne. 

653, Stihelin. For 1908 read 1905. 

680, 1. 11. Haury refers to Sauerbrei’s art. below. 

724, last line. Delete Heraclius [the mag. mii. ]. 

726. Delete Isokasios, quaestor of Antioch, 113 and (three lines above) read 

Is. of Antioch, Cilician philosopher, quaestor, 113, 472. 

Vou. II. 

131, 1. 15 from foot. or Worms read Wiirzburg. 

200, 1. 9. For Garibal read Garibald. 

213, last line. For Zachary read Zacharias. 

287. Despite Theophanes 2967, Alexandria probably did not fall till 609. 
Heraclius probably sailed from Africa in 610. 

. 299, A hitherto unnoticed passage in a contemporary document —the 

*Emdvodos Tod Aewpdvou Tod dyiov pdptupos “Avactaciou éx Hepaidos eis Td 

povaotnpioy avtov (Acta Martyris Anastasii Persae, ed. Usener, p. 12, 34a) 

—seems to show that Heraclius did not reach Jerusalem until a.p. 630, 

whence he travelled to Constantina. 

. 414, 1. 6 from foot. For six synods read sixth synod. 

. 442, last line of text. Delete later than 641. ; 

- 496, note. Substitute SPAW 1904 (xxv). 

. 506, 1. 4 from foot. For ire-all read ire, all. 

. 525, 1. 18. For seemed read seem. 

. 690, 1. 17. For Martin V read Martin I. 




On 9 July 518 the Emperor Anastasius died, leaving nephews only 
as his heirs. The succession was therefore quite undecided. An 
obscure intrigue brought the Commander-in-Chief of the Guard, the 
comes excubitorum Justin, to the throne. This adventurer had found his 
way to Constantinople from the mountains of his native Illyricum in 
search of fortune, and now became, at the age of almost seventy years, 
the founder of a dynasty. 

The position of the new prince did not lack difficulties. Ever since 
484, when the schism of Acacius embroiled the Eastern Empire with 
the Papacy, incessant religious and political agitations had shaken the 
monarchy. Under pretence of defending the orthodox faith, the 
ambitious Vitalianus had risen against Anastasius several times, and 
proved a constant menace to the new sovereign, since he had made 
himself almost independent in his province of Thrace. The Monophysite 
party, on the other hand, which had been warmly supported by 
Anastasius, suspected the intentions of Justin, and upheld the family of 
its former protector against him. Placed between two difficulties, the 
Emperor found that he could rely neither on the army, whose allegiance 
was uncertain, nor on the disturbed capital, torn by the struggles of the 
Greens and Blues, nor yet on the discontented provinces, ruined as they 
were by war, and crushed under the weight of the taxes. He saw that 
nothing short of a new political direction could keep his government 
from foundering. 

The part played by Justin himself in the new order of things was a 
subordinate one. He was a brave soldier, but almost completely lacking 
in comprehension of things beyond the battle-field. Quite uncultured, he 
could hardly read, still less write. Historians tell us that when he 
became Emperor, and was obliged to sign official documents, a plaque 
of wood was made for him, with holes cut in it corresponding to the 

C. MED. H. VOL, Il. CH. I. i 

2 Justinian [518-565 

letters of the imperial title. By means of these cracks the sovereign 
guided his halting hand. Having little acquaintance with the civil 
administration, ignorant of the intricacies of politics, diplomacy and 
theology, he would have been quite overwhelmed by his position, had he 
not had someone behind him, to help and guide him. 'This was his sister’s 
son, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus, known to us as Justinian. 

Justinian, as well as his uncle, was born in Macedonia, in the village 
of Tauresium, near Uskub. He was a peasant of the Latin race, and by 
no means a Slav as romantic traditions of a much later date affirm. To 
these traditions a value has long been assigned which they do not possess. 
Justinian went early to Constantinople by his uncle’s request, and 
received a thoroughly Roman and Christian education in the schools 
of the capital. When, through a piece of good luck, Justin became 
Emperor, his nephew was about thirty-six years old; he was experienced 
in politics, his character was formed and his intellect matured. He was 
quite prepared for the position of coadjutor to the new Caesar, and 
immediately assumed it. The good will of his uncle brought him step 
by step nearer to the foot of the throne. He became in turn Count, vir 
illustris, patrician. He was Consul in 521, Commander-in-Chief of the 
troops which garrisoned the capital (magister equitum et peditum 
praesentalis), nobilissimus, and finally, in 527, Justin adopted him and 
associated him in the Empire itself. Under these various titles it was 
he who really governed in his uncle’s name, while he waited until he 
should himself ascend the throne (1 August 527). ‘Thus, during nearly 
half a century, from 518 to 565 Justinian’s will guided the destinies of 
the Roman Empire in the East. 

Of all the prominent men who fill the pages of history, few are more 
difficult to depict and understand than Justinian. Throughout his reign 
the testimony of contemporaries is abundant and ranges from the 
extreme of extravagant adulation to that of senseless invective, thus 
furnishing the most contradictory portrait that exists of any sovereign. 
From the unmeasured praise of the Book of Edifices, and the often 
foolish gossip of the Secret History it is by no means easy to arrive 
at the truth. Besides, it must not be forgotten that J ustinian reigned 
for thirty-eight years, and died at the age of eighty-three; and that as 
he drew near the end of his reign, already too long, a growing slackness 
and lack of grip marked his last years. It is hardly fair to judge him 
by this period of decrepitude, when he almost seems to have outlived 
himself. However, this man, who left so deep an impress on the world 
of the sixth century, cannot lightly be passed by; and, after all, it is 
possible to estimate his character. 

The official portrait is to be found in the mosaic of San Vitale in 
Ravenna, which dates from 547, though it obviously represents him as 
somewhat younger than he was. It gives us a good idea of Justinian’s 

527-565 | Justinan’s Character 3 

features. As to his moral attributes, contemporaries praise the simplicity 
of his manners, the friendliness of his address, the self-control which he 
exercised, specially over his violent temper, and, above all, the love of 
work which was one of his most characteristic traits. One of his courtiers 
nicknamed him ‘The Emperor who never sleeps,” and in fact, early to 
rise, and late to retire, the Emperor claimed to know everything, examine 
everything and decide everything ; and brought to this task a great love 
of order, a real care for good administration and an attention to minute 
detail which was unceasing. Above everything else, he strove to fill 
worthily the position of a king. 

Endowed with an autocratic disposition, Justinian was naturally 
inclined to give his attention to all subjects, and to keep the direction 
of all affairs under his own control, whether they related to war or 
diplomacy, administration or theology. His imperial pride, increased 
by an almost childish vanity, led him to claim complete knowledge 
in every department. He was jealous of anyone who appeared to be 
sufficiently great or independent to question his decisions. Those who 
served him most faithfully were at all times liable to become the object 
of their master’s suspicion, or of the libels to which he was always ready 
and glad to listen. During his whole life Justinian envied and distrusted 
the fame of Belisarius, and constantly permitted and even encouraged 
intrigues against that loyal general. Under an unyielding appearance, 
he hid a weak and vacillating soul. His moods were liable to sudden 
changes, rash passions and unexpected depression. His will was swayed 
by the decision and energy of those around him, by that of his wife 
Theodora, who, in the opinion of contemporaries, governed the Empire 
equally, or to a greater extent than he did, and by that of his minister 
John of Cappadocia, who dominated the prince for ten years by means 
of his bold cleverness. Naturally so weak a man changed with changing 
circumstances, and might become untrustworthy through deceit at one 
time, or cruel through fear at another. It followed that, as he was 
always in need of money—less for himself than for the needs of the 
State—he was troubled by no scruple as to the means by which he 
obtained it. ‘Thus, in spite of his undoubted good qualities, his badly- 
balanced mind, his nature full of contrasts, his weak will, childish 
vanity, jealous disposition and fussy activity, make up a character of 
only mediocre quality. But, if his character was mediocre, Justinian’s 
soul did not lack greatness. This Macedonian peasant, seated on the 
throne of the Caesars, was the successor and heir of the Roman Emperors. 
He was, to the world of the sixth century, the living representative of 
two great ideas, that of the Empire, and that of Christianity. This 
position he was determined to fill; and because he filled it, he was a 
great sovereign. xb ae Foi 

Few princes have realised the imperial dignity in a more marked 
degree than this parvenu, or have done more to maintain the ancient 

CHa is 1—2 

4 Justinian’s Aims | 527-565 

Roman traditions. From the day when he first mounted the throne of 
Constantine, he claimed in its full extent the ancient Roman Empire. 
Sovereign of a State in which Latin was still the official tongue, and which 
was still styled the “ Roman Empire” in official documents, Justinian was 
less a Byzantine than the last of the Roman Emperors. The most 
essential part of his imperial duty seemed to him to be the restoration of 
that Roman Empire whose fragments the barbarians had divided, and 
the recovery of those unwritten but historic rights over the lost West 
which his predecessors had so carefully maintained. The thought of the 
insignia of the Empire, symbols of supreme authority, which, since they 
had been stolen by Gaiseric in the sack of Rome had been held by the 
barbarians, inflicted an intolerable wound upon his pride, and he felt 
himself bound, with the help of God, to reconquer ‘‘the countries 
possessed by the ancient Romans, to the limits of the two oceans,” to 
quote his own words. 

Justinian considered himself the obvious overlord of the barbarian 
kings who had established themselves in Roman territory, and thought 
he could withdraw, if he wished, the delegated imperial authority which 
they held. This fact was the keystone of the arch of his foreign policy, 
while at the same time the imperial idea lent inspiration to his domestic 
government. The Roman Emperor was practically the law incarnate, 
the most perfect representative of absolute power that the world has 
known. This was Justinian’s ideal. He was, according to Agathias the 
historian, “the first of the Byzantine Emperors to shew himself, by 
word and deed, the absolute master of the Romans.” The State, the 
law, the religion ; all hung on his sovereign will. In consequence of the 
necessary infallibility attaching to his imperial function, he desired 
equally to be lawgiver and conqueror, and to unite, as the Roman 
Emperors had done, the majesty of law to the lustre of arms. Anxious 
to wield the imperial power for the good of the Empire, he wished to be 
a reformer; and the mass of Novellae promulgated by him attests the 
trouble that he took to secure good administration. Desirous, further- 
more, of surrounding the imperial position with every luxury, and of 
adorning it with all magnificence, he determined that the trappings of 
the monarchy should be dignified and splendid. He felt the need of 
resounding titles and pompous ceremonial, and counted the cost of 
nothing that might increase the splendour of his capital. St Sophia 
was the incomparable monument of this imperial pride. 

But since the time of Constantine, the Roman Emperor could not 
claim to be heir of the Caesars only: he was also the champion of religion, 
and the supreme head of the Church. Justinian gladly received this 
part of his inheritance. Of a disposition naturally devout, and even 
superstitious, he had a taste for religious controversy, a considerable 
amount of theological knowledge, and a real talent for oratory. He 
therefore willingly gave his time to the consideration of matters relating 

527--565 | Justinian’s Aims 5 

to the Church. His decisions were as unhesitating on matters of dogma 
as on matters of law and reform, and he brought the same intolerant 
despotism to bear on church government as on everything else. But 
above all, as Emperor, he believed himself to be the man whom the Lord 
had specially chosen and prepared for the direction of human affairs, and 
over whom the divine protection would ever rest throughout his life. 
He considered himself to be the most faithful of servants to the God 
who aided him. If he made war, it was not simply in order to collect 
the lost provinces into the Roman Empire, but also to protect the 
Catholics from their enemies the Arian heretics, “ persecutors of souls 
and bodies.” His military undertakings had therefore something of the 
enthusiasm of a Crusade. Furthermore, one of the chief aims of his 
diplomacy was to lead the heathen peoples into the Christian fold. 
Missions were one of the most characteristic features of the Byzantine 
policy in the sixth century. By their means Justinian flattered himself, 
according to a contemporary, that he “indefinitely increased the extent 
of the Christian world.” Thus the Emperor allied care for religion with 
every political action. If this pious ardour which consumed the prince 
had its dangers, in that it quickly led to intolerance and persecution, 
yet it was not without grandeur; since the progress of civilisation 
always follows evangelisation. As champion of God, as protector of 
the Church, and as ally and dictator to the Papacy, Justinian was the 
great representative of what has been called “ Caesaropapism.” 

From the day when, under Justin’s name, he originally undertook the 
government of the Empire, these ideas inspired Justinian’s conduct. 
His first wish was to come to some agreement with Rome in order to 
end the schism. The announcement made to Pope Hormisdas, of the 
accession of the new sovereign, together with the embassy despatched 
soon afterwards to Italy to request that peace might be restored, made 
it clear to the pontifical court that they had but to formulate their 
requests in order to have them granted. The Roman legates proceeded 
to Constantinople, where because of Justinian’s friendship they received 
a splendid welcome, and obtained all that they demanded. The 
Patriarch John with the greater number of Eastern prelates in his train 
signed the profession of orthodoxy brought by the papal envoys. The 
names of Acacius and other heretical patriarchs with those of the 
Emperors Zeno and Anastasius were effaced from the ecclesiastical 
diptychs. After this the Pope was able to congratulate Justinian upon 
his zeal for the peace of the Church, and the energy with which he 
sought to restore it. In consequence of the prince’s attitude, and at 
the pressing request of the pontifical legates, who remained in the East 
for eighteen months, the dissentient Monophysites were vigorously 
persecuted throughout the Empire. In Syria the Patriarch Severus of 
Antioch was deposed and anathematised by the Synod of ‘Tyre (518), 

oH. I. 

6 Last Years of Theodoric [518526 

and more than fifty other bishops were soon afterwards chased from 
their sees. For three years (518-521) the persecution continued. The 
chief heretical meetings were scattered, the convents closed, the monks 
reduced to flight, imprisoned or massacred. However, the orthodox 
reaction lacked strength to attack Egypt, where the exiles found shelter, 
while the Monophysite agitation was secretly continuing to spread its 
propaganda in other parts of the East, and even in the capital itself. 
None the less, Rome had scored a decisive victory, and the new dynasty 
could celebrate a success which did much to establish it securely. 

But it was not only religious zeal that moved Justinian. From this 
time he fully realised the political importance of an agreement with the 
Papacy. Without doubt the new government set itself, at any rate at first, 
to maintain friendly relations with the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy. 
On 1 January 519 Theodoric’s son-in-law and heir Eutharic became 
Consul as colleague of the Emperor Justin ; and there was a constant 
interchange of ambassadors between Constantinople and Ravenna during 
the years that followed. From this moment, however, Justinian dreamed 
of the fall of the Ostrogothic power, and watched events in Italy with 
great attention. 

In spite of the prudent toleration that Theodoric had always 
maintained, neither the senatorial aristocracy nor the Roman Church 
had forgotten their enmity towards a master obnoxious as a barbarian 
and an Arian. Naturally they turned their gaze ceaselessly upon 
Byzantium, where an orthodox prince was striving to restore the faith 
and to defend religion. In 524 'Theodoric, exasperated by the intercourse 
which he suspected, had Boethius and Symmachus arrested and con- 
demned to death, and furthermore in the following year sent Pope John 
on an embassy to Constantinople to protest against the Emperor’s harsh 
measures towards those who would not conform. Justinian was ready 
to treat the matter in a way calculated to further his own ends. A 
solemn and triumphant reception was prepared for the pontiff in the 
capital. 'The Emperor, with the populace, sallied forth twelve miles to 
meet the first pope who had ever entered Constantinople. Sovereign 
honours were lavished upon him, and Justin desired to be reconsecrated 
by his hands. When on his return Theodoric, misdoubting the success 
of the embassy, arrested and imprisoned the unhappy John, who died 
miserably in his prison soon afterwards (18 May 526), no Italian could 
help comparing this heretical and persecuting prince with the pious 
basileus who reigned in the East. It followed that when death claimed 
Theodoric in his turn (Aug. 526) and when the regent Amalasuntha 
was involved in difficulties, the population of the peninsula was intoxi- 
cated by hope, and only waited an opportunity for changing their master, 
and eagerly cried out for a deliverer. 

Meanwhile Justinian’s domestic policy successfully overcame the 
obstacles which, one after another, threatened the security of the new 

505-565 | The Persian War 7 

government. Vitalianus was a rival not to be despised, and at first he was 
tactfully treated. He was given the title of magister militum praesentalis 
and became Consul in 520. He appeared to be all-powerful in the palace, 
and afterwards Justinian got rid of him by means of an assassin. The 
Greens were partisans of Anastasius. Against them the Emperor raised 
up for himself a devoted party amongst the Blues, to whom every 
privilege, and every opportunity to harm their foes was given throughout 
the Empire. Further, to please the mob of the capital, great largess 
was distributed. The imperial Consulate in 521 was unrivalled for the 
magnificence of its shows, which cost 288,000 solidi, more than £200,000 
sterling to-day. In this way Justinian became popular amongst all 
classes in Byzantium, with the Church by his orthodoxy, with the senate 
by his flattery, and with the aristocracy and the populace. Feeling 
thus secure, he launched forth on his career. At this time his con- 
nexion with Theodora began, which ended in a somewhat. scandalous 
marriage. Neither Justin nor Byzantium appear to have been much 
shocked by it. To please his nephew the Emperor conferred on his 
mistress the high dignity of patrician; he then, in order that the 
marriage might take place, abrogated the law by which alliances between 
senators and high officials and actresses were forbidden. When, in 527, 
Justinian was officially associated in the Empire, Theodora was crowned 
with him on Easter Day in the church of St Sophia, by the hands of 
the patriarch. When Justin died (1 Aug. 527), his nephew succeeded 
him without opposition. He was to reign over the Roman Empire in 
the East for nearly forty years (527-565), and to begin to realise the 
ambitious dreams which had long filled his soul. 


However, during the first years of his reign, before beginning to 
carry out the far-reaching plans which he had made, or even thinking of 
the reconstruction of the Roman Empire on its ancient plan, Justinian 
had to deal with numerous and serious difficulties. 

The Persian war, stopped by the peace of 505, had again broken out 
in the last months of Justin’s reign. The old king Kawad declared war, 
worried by the encroaching policy of Byzantium, and specially menaced 
by the increase of Roman influence during Justin’s reign in the 
Caucasus region among the Lazi, the Iberians and even the Huns, and 
furthermore indignant at the attack that the imperialists attempted on 
Nisibis. The vassals of the two States were already at daggers drawn on 
the Syrian and Armenian frontiers, and in Mesopotamia open war was 
on the point of breaking out. 'To Justinian this was specially annoying, 
since it necessitated the mobilisation of the greater part of the Byzantine 
army under Belisarius, its most famous general, on the Asiatic frontier. 
The Emperor had only one care, which was not to proceed to extremities, 

CH. I. 

8 Justinian’s Ministers [517-532 

and to end the war as soon as possible. Not realising, perhaps not 
wishing to realise, the greatness of the Eastern peril, and anxious only to 
free his hands for the conquest and liberation of the West, he shewed 
himself ready to make the largest concessions in order to heal the breach. 
In this way the peace of 532 was concluded, and gave to Justinian the 
disposition of his entire forces. 

At home, other difficulties presented themselves. The special favour 
shewn by the government to the Blues, led to a dangerous agitation in 
the capital. Sure of imperial support the Blues took all possible licence 
against their adversaries without let or hindrance from police or justice. 
Thus injured, the Greens opposed violence to violence, and since they 
were still attached to the family of their old protector Anastasius, whose 
nephews Hypatius and Pompeius dwelt in Constantinople, their opposition 
soon took on a political and dynastic complexion. This resulted in a 
perilous state of unrest in the capital, still further aggravated by the 
deplorable condition of the public administration. 

At the beginning of his reign Justinian had chosen as ministers 
Tribonian, nominated in 529 Quaestor of the Sacred Palace, and John 
of Cappadocia, invested in 531 with the high post of praetorian praefect 
in the East. The former was a remarkable man. An eminent jurist, 
and the greatest scholar of the day, he was unfortunately capable of any 
action for the sake of money, and as ready to sell justice as to amend 
the law. The latter was a skilful administrator, and a real statesman, 
but harsh, unscrupulous, greedy and cruel. Nothing could check him in 
his efforts to tear from the subjects the money needed for the Emperor’s 
ceaseless expenditure, and although he won the favour of the prince by 
his great skill in finding resources, his harshness and exactions made him 
otherwise universally detested. Under such ministers, the officials in 
every rank of the government service thought only of imitating their 
chiefs. The rapacity of the government ruined the taxpayers, while the 
partiality of the administration of justice resulted in a general feeling of 
insecurity. Under the weight of these miseries the provinces, according 
to an official document, had become “ quite uninhabitable.” The country 
was depopulated, the fields deserted, and complaints poured into 
Constantinople from all sides against “the wickedness of the officials.” 
An incessant stream of immigration brought a host of miserable folk to 
the capital, adding new elements of disorder and discontent to those 
already there. From these causes sprang, in January 532, the dangerous 
rising known as the Nika Riot, which shook Justinian’s throne. 

The Emperor was hissed at in the Circus (11 Jan. 532), and the 
disturbance spread beyond the boundaries of the hippodrome, and soon 
reached all quarters of the city. Greens and Blues made common cause 
against the hated government, and soon to the accompaniment of cries 
of NIKA (Victory) the crowd was tearing at the railings of the imperial 
palace, demanding the dismissal of the praefect of the city, and of the 

532 | The Nika Riot 9 
two hated ministers, Tribonian and John of Cappadocia. Justinian 
gave way, but too late. His apparent weakness only encouraged the 
mob, and the revolt became a revolution. The fires kindled by the 
rebels raged for three days, and destroyed the finest quarters of the 
capital. Justinian, almost destitute of means of defence, shut himself 
up in the palace without attempting to do anything, and the obvious 
result followed. As might have been expected, the mob proclaimed 
emperor Hypatius, the nephew of Anastasius, and, swelled by all 
malcontents, the insurrection became a definite political movement. 
“'The Empire,” wrote an eye-witness, “seemed on the verge of its fall.” 
Justinian, in despair of curbing the riot which had continued for six 
days, lost his head, and thought of saving himself by flight. He had 
already ordered to load the imperial treasure in ships. It was then that 
Theodora rose in the Council, to recall to their duty the Emperor and 
ministers who were abandoning it. She said “‘ When safety only remains 
in flight still I will not flee. Those who have worn the crown should 
not survive its fall. I will never live to see the day when I shall no 
longer be saluted as Empress. Flee if you wish, Caesar; you have 
money, the ships await you, the sea is unguarded. As for me,I stay. I 
hold with the old proverb which says that the purple is a good winding- 
sheet.” This display of energy revived the courage of all. As soon as 
discord had been sown among the rebels by a lavish distribution of gold, 
Belisarius and Mundus with their barbarian mercenaries threw them- 
selves on the crowd collected in the hippodrome. ‘They gave no quarter, 
but continued their bloody work throughout the night (18 January). 
More than 30,000 corpses according to one computation, more than 
50,000 according to other witnesses, flooded the arena with blood. 
Hypatius and Pompeius were arrested, and both executed the next 
morning. Other condemnations followed, and, thanks to the frightful 
bloodshed which ended this six days’ battle, order was established once 
more in the capital, and thenceforth the imperial power became more 
absolute than ever. 

In spite of every difficulty the imperial diplomacy never lost sight of 
any event that might further the accomplishment of Justinian’s plans. 
Occurrences in the Vandal kingdom in Africa and the Ostrogothic 
kingdom in Italy were carefully watched for the profit of the Empire. 
In Africa, as in Italy, everything was in favour of the imperial restoration, 
The Roman people, governed by barbarian kings, had kept alive the 
memory of the Empire, and looked impatiently to Constantinople for 
a deliverer. According to Fustel de Coulanges “they persisted in 
regarding the Roman Empire as their supreme head ; the distant power 
seemed to them to be an ancient and sacred authority, a kind of far-off 
providence, to be called upon as the last hope and consolation of the 
unfortunate.” They felt still more keenly, perhaps, the misery of being 
ruled by heretical sovereigns. In Africa, where rigorous persecution of 

CH. I. 

10 Justinan’s Designs in the West [ 523-533 

Catholics had long been carried on, everyone hoped for the end of the 
“horrible secular captivity.” In Italy, Theodoric’s prolonged toleration 
had reconciled no one to him, and his ultimate severity exasperated his 
Roman subjects. A dumb agitation held sway in the West, and the 
coming of the Emperor’s soldiers was eagerly awaited and desired. 
What is more surprising is that the barbarian kings themselves 
acknowledged the justice of the imperial claims. They also still 
reverenced the Empire whose lands they had divided, they thought of 
themselves as vassals of the bastleus, received his commands with respect 
and bowed before his remonstrance. Hilderic, who had reigned over the 
Vandal kingdom since 523, was proud to proclaim himself the personal 
friend of Justinian. The two interchanged presents and embassies, and 
the Emperor’s head replaced that of the king on the Vandal coinage. 
Amalasuntha, who had governed Italy since 526 in the name of her son 
Athalaric, made it her first care to recommend the youth of the new 
prince to Justinian’s kindness: and the prince himself begged for the 
imperial favour the day after his accession. He recalled with pride the 
fact that his father had been adopted by Justin, and that he could 
therefore claim kinship with the basileus. So great was the prestige of 
the Roman Empire throughout the West that even the opponents of 
the imperial policy, such as Witigis or Totila, were willing to acknowledge 
themselves the Emperor’s vassals. 

Justinian realised this: he also realised the essential weakness of the 
barbarian kingdoms—their internal dissensions, and inability to make 
common cause against a foe. ‘Therefore from the first he took up the 
position of their overlord, waiting until circumstances should furnish him 
with an opportunity for more active interference. This occurred, as far 
as Africa was concerned, in 531. At this time a domestic revolution 
substituted Gelimer, another descendant of Gaiseric, for the weakly 
Hilderic. Hilderic at once appealed to Byzantium, begging the Emperor 
to support the cause of his dethroned vassal. Byzantine diplomacy at 
once interfered in the haughtiest manner, demanding the restoration, or 
at any rate the liberation of the unhappy king, and evoking the decision 
of the dispute to the Emperor’s court. Gelimer alone, perhaps, among 
the barbarian princes, recognised the fact that concessions, however large, 
would only postpone the inevitable struggle. Therefore he flatly refused 
the satisfaction required, and replied to the Byzantine demands by 
redoubled severity towards his political and religious enemies. The 
struggle had begun, and all was ready for. the imperial restoration. 


Besides holding several trump cards, Justinian possessed another 
advantage in the redoubtable war machine constituted by the Byzantine 
army with its generals. The imperial army, in Justinian’s time, was 

533 | The Army 11 

formed essentially of mercenaries, recruited from all the barbarians of the 
East and West. Huns, Gepids, Heruls, Vandals, Goths and Lombards, 
Antae and Slavs, Persians, Armenians, men from the Caucasus, Arabs 
from Syria, and Moors from Africa served in it side by side, glad to sell 
their services to an Emperor who paid well, or to attach themselves to 
the person of a celebrated general, to whom they would form the guard 
and staff (isacmicrai). The greater number of these soldiers were 
mounted. Only the smallest part of the troops consisted of infantry 
which, being heavily equipped, was more notable for solidity than 
mobility. The cavalry, on the other hand, was excellent. Barbed with 
iron, armed with sword and lance, bow and quiver, the heavy regiments 
of Byzantine cuirassiers (cataphracti) were equally formed to break the 
enemy's ranks from a distance by a flight of arrows, or to carry all before 
them by the splendid dash of their charge. This cavalry generally 
sufficed to win battles, and the old regiments, proved as they were 
by a hundred fights, and matchless in bravery, made incomparable 

However, in spite of these qualities, the troops were not lacking in 
the faults inseparable from mercenary armies. Convinced that war 
should maintain war, and owning no fatherland, they pillaged merci- 
lessly wherever they went. With an insatiable greed of gold, wine and 
women, and with thoughts always bent on plunder, they easily slipped 
the yoke of discipline, and imposed unheard-of conditions on their 
generals. Even treason was not below them, and more than one victory 
was lost by the defection of the troops on the field of battle, or their 
disorganisation in the rush for plunder. After a victory, things were 
still worse. Only anxious for leisure in which to enjoy their ill-gotten 
gains, they were deaf to entreaty, and the efforts of the generals to 
restore discipline frequently led to mutiny in the camp. ‘The officers, of 
whom the greater number were barbarians, were not much more to be 
trusted than the men. They also were greedy, undisciplined and jealous 
of each other, always a willing prey to intrigue and treason. 

Certainly the faulty organisation of the army explained some of these 
failings. ‘The commissariat was badly arranged, pay generally in arrears, 
while the treasury officials and the generals sought, under various 
pretexts, to cheat the soldiers. Thus if the army was to be of any Use, 
everything really depended on the Commander-in-Chief. J ustinian had 
the good fortune to find excellent generals at the head of his armies ; 
they were adored by the troops, and able, by a mixture of skilful energy 
and firm kindness, to keep them in hand and lead them where they 
wished, Such were the patrician Germanus, the Emperor’s nephew, who 
commanded in turn in Thrace, Africa and Syria; Belisarius, the hero of 
the reign, conqueror of the Persians, Vandals and Ostrogoths of Africa 
and Italy, and the last resource of the Empire in every peril; and 
lastly the eunuch Narses, who concealed under a frail appearance 

CH. I. 

12 Conquest of Africa [533 

indomitable energy, prodigious activity and a strong will. He was a 
wonderful general, who completed the ruin of the Goths, and chased the 
Alemannic hordes from Italy. 

The numerical force of the imperial armies must not be exaggerated. 
Belisarius had scarcely 15,000 men with which to destroy the Vandal 
kingdom, he had still less in his attack on the Ostrogothic realm, only 
10,000 or 11,000; and altogether 25,000 to 30,000 sufficed to break 
down the Ostrogothic resistance. The weakness of this force added to 
the faulty organisation explains the interminable length of Justinian’s 
wars, specially during the second half of the reign. It also illustrates 
the fundamental vice of the government, which was the perpetual 
disproportion between the end aimed at, and the means employed for its 
accomplishment. Lack of money always led to reduction of expenses 
and curtailment of effort. 

However, when in 533 the chance of intervention in Africa presented 
itself, Justinian did not hesitate. Grave doubts as to the success of the 
distant enterprise were felt at court, and in the Council John of Cappadocia 
pointed out its many perils with a somewhat brutal clearness. Before 
this opposition, added to the critical condition of the treasury and the 
discontent of the soldiers, Justinian himself began to waver. On the 
other hand, the African bishops, surrounded as they were with the halo 
of martyrdom, revived the prince’s flagging zeal and promised him victory. 
As soon as it became known that imperial intervention was probable, 
risings against the Vandal domination broke out in Tripolitana and 
Sardinia. Furthermore, Justinian could not hesitate long, because of 
the strength of the motives impelling him forward, his burning desire of 
conquest, and his absolute trust in the justice of his claims and in divine 
protection. He himself took the initiative in making the final decision, 
and events proved that in doing so he was wiser than his more prudent 

The African campaign was equally rapid and triumphant. On 
22 June 533 Belisarius embarked for the West. Ten thousand infantry, 
and from five to six thousand cavalry were shipped in five hundred 
transport-ships, manned by twenty thousand sailors. A fleet of war-ships 
(dromons) manned by two thousand oarsmen convoyed the expedition. 
The Vandals could offer little resistance to these forces. During the last 
hundred years they had lost in Africa the energy which had once made 
them invincible; and in spite of his boasted bravery, their king Gelimer 
proved himself, by his indecision, sensitiveness, lack of perseverance and 
want of will power, the worst possible leader for a nation in danger 
The neutrality of the Ostrogoths, which Byzantine diplomacy had secu 
gave Belisarius every chance of fair play. Early in September 533 Ke 
was able to disembark unhindered on the desert headland of Caput-Vada 
He was well received by the African people, and marched on Carthage, 

533-546 | Conquest of Africa 13 

while the imperial fleet turned back, skirting the coast in a northerly 
direction. On September 13 the battle of Decimum was fought, and 
shattered Gelimer’s hopes by a single blow, while Carthage, the chief 
town and only fortress in Africa, fell into the conqueror’s hands un- 
defended. In vain the Vandal king recalled the forces which he had 
detached for service in Sardinia, and endeavoured to regain his capital. 
He was forced to raise the blockade, and on the day of Tricamarum 
(mid-Dec. 533) the Byzantine cavalry again overcame the impetuosity of 
the barbarians. This was the final and decisive defeat. All Gelimer’s 
towns, his treasures and family fell in turn into Belisarius’ hands. He 
himself, hemmed in in his retreat on Mt Pappua, was forced to surrender, 
on receiving a promise that his life should be spared, and that he should 
be honourably treated (March 534). In a few months, contrary to all 
expectations, a few cavalry regiments had destroyed Gaiseric’s kingdom. 

Justinian, always optimistic, considered the war at an end. He 
recalled Belisarius, who was decreed the honours of a triumph; while he 
himself, somewhat arrogantly, assumed the titles of Vandalicus and 
Africanus. Furthermore he adorned the walls of the imperial palace 
with mosaics representing the events of the African war, and Gelimer 
paying homage to the Emperor and Theodora. He hastened to restore 
Roman institutions in the conquered province, but at this very moment 
the war broke out afresh. The Berber tribes had passively allowed the 
Vandals to be crushed ; now it was their turn to rise against the imperial 
authority. The patrician Solomon, who had _ succeeded Belisarius, 
energetically put down the revolt in Byzacena (534) but he was unable 
to break through the group of Aures in Numidia (535): and soon the 
discontented troops, dissatisfied with a general who was strict and 
demanded too much from them, broke into a serious mutiny (536). 
Belisarius was obliged to leave Sicily for Africa at once, and arrived just 
in time to save Carthage, and defeat the rebels in the plains of 
Membressa. To complete the pacification it was found necessary to 
appoint the Emperor’s own nephew Germanus governor of Africa. 
After performing prodigies of courage, skill and energy, he succeeded at 
last in crushing out the insurrection (538). But four years had been 
lost in useless and exhausting struggles. Only then was the patrician 
Solomon, invested a second time with the rank of Governor-General, 
able to complete the pacification of the country (539). By a bold march 
he forced Iabdas, the strongest of the Berber princes and the great chief 
of the Aures, into submission. He overran Zab, Hodna and Mauretania 
Sitifensis, forcing the petty kings to acknowledge the imperial suzerainty. 
Under his beneficent rule (539-544) Africa once more experienced peace 
and security. His death occasioned another crisis. ‘T he revolted Berbers 
made common cause with the mutinous soldiers. A usurper Guntharic 
murdered Areobindus, the Governor-General, and proclaimed his own 
independence (546). Africa seemed on the point of slipping from the 

CH. I. 

14 Invasion of Italy [533-548 

Empire, and the fruits of Belisarius’ victories were, to quote Procopius’ 
phrase, “as completely annihilated as though they had never existed.” 
This time again, the energy of a general, John Troglita, overcame 
the danger. After two years of warfare (546-548) he beat down the 
Berber resistance, and restored, permanently at last, the imperial 

After fifteen years of war and strife Africa once more took her place 
in the Roman Empire. Doubtless it was not the Africa that Rome had 
once possessed, and of which Justinian dreamed. It included Tripolitana, 
Byzacena, Proconsularis, Numidia, and Mauretania Sitifensis. The Byzan- 
tines also occupied Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Isles, all dependencies 
of the African government. But with the exception of several scattered 
places on the coast, of which the most important was the citadel of 
Septem (Ceuta) at the Pillars of Hercules, the whole of West Africa 
broke away from Justinian. Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania 
Tingitana always remained independent, joined to the Empire only by 
the loosest bond of vassalage. However, within these limited boundaries 
the work of the imperial restoration was not in vain. It is clear that 
Justinian’s reign left a lasting impress on the lands drawn once more 
into the bosom of the monarchy. 

The conquest of Africa by Belisarius furnished Justinian with a 
splendid base for operations in Italy, where he hoped to carry out his 
ambitious projects. As had been the case in Africa, circumstances 
provided him, in the nick of time, with a pretext for interference in the 

Amalasuntha, daughter of Theodoric, and regent for her young son 
Athalaric, had soon succeeded in arousing the discontent of her barbarian 
subjects by her Roman sympathies. Made uneasy by the growing 
opposition, she put herself into communication with the Court at 
Constantinople, begging of the imperial benevolence an asylum in the 
East should she need it. In return she offered all facilities for the fleet 
of Belisarius to revictual in Sicily in 533, and finally allowed herself to 
be persuaded to propose to Justinian the conquest of Italy (534). The 
death of the young Athalaric (October 534) further complicated the 
princess’s position. In order to strengthen it, she made her cousin 
Theodahad her partner; but a few months later a national revolution 
like that which had hurled Hilderic from the throne in Africa depesed 
Theodoric’s daughter. Amalasuntha was imprisoned by orden of her 
royal husband, and soon afterwards assassinated (April 535). As had 
been the case in Africa, but even with increased imperiousness, the 
Byzantine diplomacy demanded satisfaction for the arrest of a pring 
allied to and protected by Justinian. Her death proved to be tiie 
wished-for casus bella. 

As if to complete the remarkable parallelism presented by Italian 

535—539 | Conquest of Italy 15 

and African affairs, Theodahad the Gothic king was, like Gelimer, 
impressionable, changeable, unsteady, unreliable, and, in addition, a 
coward. After the first military demonstrations he offered to Justinian’s 
ambassador to cede Sicily to the Empire, to acknowledge himself as a 
vassal of Byzantium, and, soon afterwards, he proposed to abandon the 
whole of Italy in return for a title and a money settlement. Against 
such a foe Belisarius had no formidable task, specially as in view of the 
Ostrogothic war, Byzantine diplomacy had secured the Frankish alliance, 
Just as in the African war it had secured that of the Ostrogoths. From 
the end of 535, while a Byzantine army was concentrated in Dalmatia, 
Belisarius landed in Sicily, and occupied it, hardly needing to strike a blow. 
Theodahad was terrified, and “already feeling the fate of Gelimer about 
to descend on him” offered any concessions. Then, on hearing that 
Belisarius had been obliged to return to Africa, he once more plucked 
up courage, imprisoned the imperial ambassadors, and flung himself 
desperately into the struggle. Little good it did him. While one of 
Justinian’s generals conquered Dalmatia, Belisarius crossed the Strait 
of Messina (May 536) and, greeted by the Italian people as a liberator, 
in turn seized Naples and occupied Rome unopposed (10 December 536). 
However, the Ostrogoths still possessed more energy than the Vandals. 
On the news of the first disasters, even before the fall of Rome, they 
dethroned the incapable Theodahad, and elected as king Witigis, one of 
the bravest of their warriors. With considerable skill the new king 
checked the march of the Franks by the cession of Provence; then, 
having united all his forces, he proceeded with 150,000 men to besiege 
Belisarius in Rome. For a whole year (March 537—March 538) he 
exhausted himself in vain efforts to take the Eternal City. Everything 
miscarried before the splendid energy of Belisarius. Meanwhile, another 
Roman army, which had landed at the beginning of 538 on the Adriatic 
coast, was occupying Picenum. Greek troops, at the request of the 
Archbishop of Milan, had made a descent on Liguria, and seized the 
great town of northern Italy. Witigis, in despair, decided to abandon 
Rome. The triumph of the imperialists seemed assured, and to finish it 
Justinian despatched another army under Narses into Italy. Unfor- 
tunately, Narses’ instructions were not only to reinforce Belisarius, but 
also to spy upon him; and the misunderstanding between the two 
generals soon paralysed all operations. ‘They confined themselves to 
saving Rimini, which was attacked by Witigis; but allowed the Goths 
to reconquer Milan, and Theudibert’s Franks to pillage the valley of the 
Po on their own account. At last in 589 Justinian decided to recall 
Narses, and to leave to Belisarius alone the task of conducting the war. 
It was brought rapidly to a successful end. Pressed on every side, 
Witigis threw himself into Ravenna, and the imperialists besieged it 
(end of 539). For six months the Ostrogoths held out, counting on a 
diversion to be caused by the Persians in the East, the intervention of the 

CH. I. 

16 Mismanagement in Italy [540-544 

Lombards, and the defection of the Franks. When they saw themselves 
abandoned by all, they determined to negotiate with J ustinian (May 540). 
The Emperor leaned towards conciliation and shewed himself inclined to 
allow Witigis to keep possession of Italy north of the Po. But for the 
first time in his life Belisarius refused to obey, and declared that he 
would never ratify the convention. He wished for complete victory, 
and hoped to destroy the Ostrogothic kingdom as completely as the 
Vandal. Then occurred a strange episode. The Goths suggested that 
the Byzantine general, whose valour they had proved, and whose 
independence they had just ascertained, should be their king, Witigis 
himself consenting to abdicate in his favour. Belisarius pretended to 
fall in with their plans in order to obtain the capitulation of Ravenna ; 
then he threw off all disguise and declared that he had never worked for 
anyone but the Emperor. 

Once more, as he had done in Africa, Justinian in his optimistic 
mind considered the war at an end. Proudly he assumed the title of 
Gothicus, recalled Belisarius, reduced the troops in occupation; and in 
the Ostrogothic kingdom, now transformed into a Roman province, he 
organised a system of purely civil administration. Once more the issue 
disappointed his anticipations. The Goths indeed soon recovered them- 
selves. Scarcely had Belisarius gone, before they organised resistance to 
the north of the Po, and instead of Witigis (a prisoner of the Greeks) 
they chose Hildibad for king. The tactlessness of the Byzantine adminis- 
tration, which was both harsh and vexatious, still further aggravated the 
situation ; and when, at the end of 541, the accession of the young and 
brilliant Totila gave the barbarians a prince equally remarkable for his 
chivalrous courage and unusual attractiveness, the work of the imperial 
restoration was undone in a few months. For eleven years Totila was 
able to hold at bay the whole force of the Empire, to reconquer the 
whole of Italy, and to ruin the reputation of Belisarius. 

He passed the Po with only five thousand men. Central Italy was 
soon opened to him by the victories of Faenza and Mugillo. Then, 
while the disabled Byzantine generals shut themselves up in forts, 
without attempting any joint action, 'Totila skilfully moved towards the 
Campania and southern Italy, where the provinces had suffered less from 
the war, and would consequently yield him supplies. Naples fell to him 
(543), and Otranto, where the imperialists revictualled, was besieged. 
At the same time Totila conciliated the Roman population by his 
political skill; he made war without pillaging the country, and his 
justice was proverbial. Justinian felt sure that no one except Belisarius 
was capable of dealing with this formidable foe. Therefore he was 
ordered back to Italy (544). Unfortunately there were just then so 
many calls on the Empire, from Africa, on the Danube, and from the 
Persian frontier, that the great effort needed in the peninsula was not 
forthcoming. The imperial general, bereft of money, and almost 

544-552 | Totila 17 

without an army, was practically powerless. Content with having 
thrown supplies into Otranto, he fortified himself in Ravenna and stayed 
there (545). Totila seized the posts by which communications were 
maintained between Ravenna and Rome, and finally invested the Eternal 
City, which Belisarius was unable to save when he finally roused himself 
from his inaction (17 December 546). 'Totila then tried to make 
peace with the Emperor, but Justinian obstinately refused to negotiate 
with a sovereign whom he held to be nothing but an usurper. Therefore 
the war went on. Belisarius did manage to recover Rome, evacuated 
by the Gothic king and emptied of its inhabitants, and clung to it 
successfully in spite of all Totila’s hostile attacks (547). But the 
imperial army was scattered over the whole of Italy, and quite powerless; 
and reinforcements, when they did arrive from the East, could not 
prevent Totila from taking Perusia in the north and Rossano in 
the south. Belisarius, badly supported by his lieutenants, and driven 
to desperation, demanded to be recalled (548). When his request 
was granted he left Italy, where his glory had been so sadly tarnished. 
“God himself,” wrote a contemporary, “fought for Totila and the 

In fact, no resistance to them remained. Belisarius had been gone 
for less than a year when the imperialists were left with only four towns 
in the peninsula: Ravenna, Ancona, Otranto and Crotona. Soon after- 
wards the fleet which Totila had created conquered Sicily (550), Corsica, 
Sardinia (551), and ravaged Dalmatia, Corfu and Epirus (551). Mean- 
while the fast ageing Justinian was absorbed in useless theological 
discussions, and forgot his province of Italy. “The whole West was in 
the hands of the barbarians,” wrote Procopius. However, moved by 
the entreaties of the emigrant Italians who flocked to Byzantium, the 
Emperor recovered himself. He despatched a fleet to the West which 
forced Totila to evacuate Sicily, while a great army was mobilised under 
the direction of Germanus to reconquer Italy (550). The sudden death 
of the general hindered the operations, but Narses, appointed as his 
successor, carried them on with a long forgotten energy and decision. 
He boldly stated his conditions to the Emperor, and succeeded in 
wringing from him those supplies that had been doled out so meagrely 
to his predecessors. He obtained money, arms and soldiers, and soon 
commanded the largest army ever entrusted by Justinian to any of his 
generals, numbering probably from thirty to thirty-five thousand men. 
In the spring of 552 he attacked Italy from the north, moved on 
Ravenna, and from there made a bold push for the south in order to 
force Totila to a decisive engagement. He encountered the Goths in 
the Apennines at Taginae (May or June 552), not far from the site 
of Busta Gallorum where, Procopius tells us, Camillus repulsed the 
Gauls in ancient days. The Ostrogothic army was stricken with panic, 
and broke and fled as soon as the battle was joined; Totila was borne 

C. MED. H. VOL. II. CH. I. 2; 

18 End of the Gothic Kingdom [ 552-563 

away in the rout, and perished in it. The Gothic State had received its 

The Byzantines could hardly believe that their formidable enemy was 
really overcome. They wanted to disinter his body to assure themselves 
of their good fortune; “and having gazed at it for a long time,” wrote 
Procopius, “they felt satisfied that Italy was really conquered.” It was in 
vain that the unhappy remnant of the Gothic people rallied under a new 
king, Teias, for a last desperate struggle. By degrees the whole of 
central Italy, including Rome itself, again passed into the hands of the 
Greeks, Finally Narses fought the last barbarian muster in Campania 
near the foot of Mt Vesuvius on the slopes of Monte Lettere (Mons 
Lactarius) early in 553. The battle lasted for two whole days, “a 
giants’ combat” according to Procopius, desperate, implacable, epic. 
The flower of the Gothic army fell round their king, the remainder 
received honourable treatment from Narses, and permission to seek land 
amongst the other barbarians, where they would no longer be subjects 
of Justinian. 

Italy had still to be cleared of the Franks. They had profited by 
what was happening, and had occupied part of Liguria, and almost the 
whole of the Venetian territory, had repulsed the imperialists of Verona 
after Taginae, and now claimed to inherit all the possessions of the 
Goths. In the middle of the year 553 two Alemannic chieftains, 
Leutharis and Bucelin, rushed on Italy, with seventy-five thousand 
barbarians, marking a trail from the north to the centre with blood and 
fire. Fortunately for Narses the remnant of the Ostrogoths thought 
submission to the Emperor better than submission to the Franks. 
Thanks to their help, the Greek general was able to crush the hordes of 
Bucelin near Capua (autumn of 554), while those of Leutharis, decimated 
by sickness, perished miserably on their retreat. In the following year 
peace was restored to Italy by the capitulation of Compsae, which had 
been the centre of Ostrogothic resistance in the south (555). Thus, 
after twenty years of warfare, Italy was once more drawn into the 
Roman Empire. Like Africa, her extent was not so great as it had 
been formerly, as the Italian praefecture. Without mentioning places 
like Brescia and Verona, where a handful of Goths held out till 563 
neither Pannonia nor Rhaetia nor Noricum ever came under J cuniane 
rule again. The imperial province of Italy did not extend beyond the 
line of the Alps, but Justinian was none the less proud of having rescued 
it from “tyranny,” and flattered himself on having restored to it 
‘perfect peace,” likely to prove durable. 

It might easily be imagined that Spain, conquered by the Visigoths 
would be added to the Empire, after the reconquest of Africa and Henly! 
Here also, just at the right moment, circumstances arose which gave 
a pretext for Greek intervention. King Agila was a persecutor of 

539—554 | Imperial Position of Justinian 19 

Catholics, and against him uprose an usurper Athanagild, who naturally 
sought help from the greatest orthodox ruler of the time. A Byzantine 
army and fleet were despatched to Spain, Agila was defeated, and in a 
few weeks the imperialists were in possession of the chief towns in the 
south-east of the peninsula, Carthagena, Malaga and Corduba. As soon 
as the Visigoths realised the danger in which they stood, they put an 
end to their domestic disagreements, and all parties joined in offering 
the crown to Athanagild (554). The new prince soon returned to face his 
former allies, and managed to prevent them from making much progress. 
However, the Byzantines were able to keep what they had already won, 
and the Empire congratulated itself on the acquisition of a Spanish 

The imperial diplomacy was able to add successes of its own to the 
triumphs won by force of arms. The Frankish kings of Gaul had gladly 
received subsidies from Justinian, and had entered into an alliance with 
him, calling him Lord and Father, in token of their position as vassals. 
They proved themselves fickle and treacherous allies, and after Theudibert, 
King of Austrasia, had in 539 worked for himself in Italy, he formed the 
plan of overwhelming the Eastern Empire by a concerted attack of all the 
barbarian peoples. In spite of such occasional lapses, the prestige of 
Rome was undiminished in Gaul: Constantinople was regarded as the 
capital of the whole world, and in the distant Frankish churches, by the 
Pope’s request, prayers were said by the clergy for the safety of the 
Roman Emperor. To his titles of Vandalicus and Gothicus Justinian 
now added those of Francicus, Alemannicus and Germanicus. He 
treated Theudibert as though he were the most submissive of lieutenants, 
and confided to him the work of converting the pagans ruled by 
him in Germany. It was the same with the Lombards. In 547 the 
Emperor gave them permission to settle in Pannonia and Noricum, 
and furnished them with subsidies in return for recruits. They were 
rewarded by receiving imperial support against their enemies the 
Gepidae; and Greek diplomacy was successful in keeping them 

On the whole, in spite of certain sacrifices which had been wrung 
from the pride of the basileus, Justinian had realised his dream. It was 
thanks to his splendid and persistent ambition that the Empire could 
now boast the acquisition of Dalmatia, Italy, the whole of eastern 
Africa, south-east Spain, the islands of the western basin of the 
Mediterranean, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, and the Balearic Isles, which 
almost doubled its extent. The occupation of Septem carried the 
Emperor’s authority to the Pillars of Hercules, and with the exception 
of those parts of the coast held by the Visigoths in Spain and Septimania 
and the Franks in Provence, the Mediterranean was once more a Roman 
lake. We have seen by what efforts these triumphs were bought, we 
shall see at what cost of suffering they were held. We must however 

CH. I. 2—2 

20 Administration in Africa and Italy 

maintain that by them Justinian had won for the Empire a great and 
incontestable increase of prestige and honour. In some respects it may 
have proved a misfortune that he had taken upon him the splendid but 
crushing heritage of Roman traditions and memories with the crown of 
the Caesars: none the less, none of his contemporaries realised that he 
had repudiated the obligations they entailed. His most savage detractors 
saw in his vast ambitions the real glory of his reign. Procopius wrote 
“The natural course for a high-souled Emperor to pursue, is to seek to 
enlarge the Empire, and make it more glorious.” 


Justinian’s great object in accomplishing the imperial restoration in 
the West was to restore the exact counterpart of the ancient Roman 
Empire, by means of the revival of Roman institutions. The aim of the 
two great ordinances of April 534 was the restoration in Africa of that 
‘perfect order” which seemed to the Emperor to be the index of true 
civilisation in any State. The Pragmatic Sanction of 554, while it 
completed the measures taken in 538 and 540, had the same object in 
Italy—to “give back to Rome Rome’s privileges,” according to the 
expression of a contemporary. By what appears at first sight to be a 
surprising anomaly, remarkably well illustrating however Justinian’s 
disinclination to change any condition of the past he endeavoured to 
restore, the Emperor did not extend to the West any of the administrative 
reforms which he was compassing in the East at the same time. 

In Africa, as in Italy, the principle on which the administrative re- 
organisation was carried out was that of maintaining the ancient separation 
between civil and military authority. At the head of the civil government 
of Africa was placed a praetorian praefect, having seven governors below 
him, bearing the titles of consulares or praesides, who administered the 
restored circumscriptions which had been established by the Roman 
Empire. The numerous offices in which Justinian, with his usual care 
for detail, minutely regulated the details of staff and salaries, helped the 
officials and assured the predominance of civil rule in the praefecture of 
Africa. It was the same in the reconstructed praefecture of Italy. 
From 535 a praetor was at the head of reconquered Sicily, after 538 a 
praetorian praefect was appointed in Italy, and the régime of civil 
administration was established the day after the capitulation of Ravenna. 
The reorganisation was carried out by the Pragmatic of 554. Under the 
praefect’s high authority, assisted, as formerly, by the two vicarit of 
Rome and Italy, the civil officials governed the thirteen provinces into 
which the peninsula was still divided. Occasionally in practice political 
or military exigencies led to the concentration of all the authority in the 
same hands. In Africa Solomon and Germanus combined the functions and 

Adminstration in Africa and Italy 21 

even the titles of praetorian praefect and magister militum. In Italy 
Narses was a real viceroy. These, however, were only exceptional 
deviations from the established principle, and only concerned the supreme 
government of the province. At the same time Justinian introduced 
the legislation that he had promulgated into the reconquered West. 
The financial administration was co-ordinated with the territorial. The 
ancient system of taxation, slightly modified elsewhere by the barbarians, 
was completely restored, and the supplies so raised were divided, as had 
formerly been the case, between the praefect’s arca and the coffer of the 
largitiones. A comes sacri patrimonii per Italiam was appointed, and 
the imperial logothetae exacted with great harshness arrears of taxation, 
dating back to the time of the Gothic kings, from the country already 
ruined by warfare. ; 

Thus Justinian meant to efface, with one stroke of the pen, anything 
that might recall the barbarian “tyranny.” Contracts signed in the 
time of Totila, donations made by the barbarian kings, economic 
measures passed by them in favour of settlers and slaves, were all 
pronounced void, and the Pragmatic restored to the Roman proprietors 
all lands that they had held before the time of Totila. However, though 
he might shape the future, the Emperor was obliged to accept many 
existing facts. The newly-created praefecture of Africa corresponded to 
the Vandal kingdom, and included, as the Vandal kingdom had done, 
along with Africa, Sardinia and Corsica which the barbarians had torn 
from Italy. The Italian praefecture, already reduced by this arrange- 
ment, was further diminished by the loss of Dalmatia and Sicily, which 
formed a province by themselves. The Italian peninsula alone concerned 
the praefect of Italy. 

The military administration was on the same lines as the civil, but 
very strictly separated from it. Responsible for the defence of the 
country, it was reconstructed on the Roman model, according to the 
minute instructions of the Emperor. Belisarius in Africa and Narses in 
Italy organised the frontier defence. Each province formed a great 
command, with a magister militum at its head; Africa, Italy and Spain 
comprised one each. Under the supreme command of these generals, 
who were Commanders-in-Chief of all the troops stationed in the 
province, dukes governed the military districts (limites) created along 
the whole length of the frontier. In Africa there were originally four, 
soon afterwards five (Tripolitana, Byzacena, Numidia and Mauretania), 
four also in Italy, along the Alpine frontier. Dukes were also installed 
in Sardinia and Sicily. In this group of military districts, troops of a 
special nature were stationed, the limétane? (borderers) formed on the 
model formerly invented in the Roman Empire, and partly restored by 
Anastasius. Recruited from the provincial population, specially on the 
frontier, these soldiers received concessions of land, and pay as well. In 
time of peace their duty was to cultivate the land they occupied, and to 

CH. I. 

22 Administration in Africa 

keep a sharp watch on the roads crossing the limes; in time of war they 
took up arms either to defend the post specially committed to their 
charge, or combined with similar troops to beat back the invader. In 
either case they might never leave the limes, as perpetual military service 
was the necessary condition of their tenure of land. These tenant- 
soldiers were empowered to marry, grouped in regiments commanded by 
tribunes, and stationed in the fortified towns and castles on the frontier. 
This kind of territorial army, organised by Justinian along all the 
borders of the Empire, enabled him to reduce the strength of the troops 
of the line, and keep them for big wars. A close-drawn net of fortresses 
supported this formation. In Africa, specially, where the Vandals had 
razed the fortifications of nearly all the towns, Justinian’s lieutenants 
had an enormous task before them. No point was left undefended, and 
in Byzacena and Numidia several parallel lines of fortresses served to 
block all openings, cover all positions of strategic importance, and offer 
a refuge to the surrounding population in time of danger. A number 
of fortresses were built or restored from Tripolitana to the Pillars of 
Hercules, where stood Septem “that the whole world could not take,” 
and from the Aures and Hodna to Tell. Even to-day North Africa 
abounds in the colossal ruins of Justinian’s fortresses, and the hardly 
dismantled ramparts of Haidra, Beja, Madaura, Tebessa and Timgad, to 
cite no more, bear witness to the great effort by which, in a few years, 
Justinian restored the Roman system of defence. Furthermore, in 
following the example set by Rome, Justinian tried to incorporate in 
the imperial army the barbaric peoples dwelling on the outskirts of the 
Empire. These gentiles or foederati made a perpetual treaty with the 
Emperor, on receiving a promise of an annual subsidy (annona). They 
put their contingents at the disposal of the Roman dukes of the limes, 
and their chiefs received from the Emperor’s hands a kind of investiture, 
as a sign of the Roman sovereignty, when they were given insignia to 
denote their command, and titles from the Byzantine hierarchy. Thus 
from the Syrtis to Mauretania there stretched a fringe of barbarian client 
princes, acknowledging themselves as vassals of the basileus, and called— 
Mauri pacifict. According to the expression of the African poet 
Corippus, “ trembling before the arms and success of Rome, of their own 

accord they hastened to place themselves under the Roman yoke and 

By carrying out the great work of reorganisation in Africa and Italy, 
Justinian flattered himself that he had achieved the double object of 
restoring the ‘complete peace” in the West and “ repairing the disasters ” 
which war had heaped on the unhappy countries. It remains to be seen 
how far his optimism was justified, and to reckon the price paid by the 
inhabitants for the privilege of entering the Roman Empire once more. 

In a celebrated passage of the Secret H astory Procopius has enumerated 

Misgovernment 23 

all the misfortunes which the imperial restoration brought on Africa and 
Italy. According to the historian the country was depopulated, the 
provinces left undefended and badly governed, ruined further by financial 
exactions, religious intolerance, and military insurrections, while five 
million human lives were sacrificed in Africa, and still more in Italy. 
These were the benefits conferred in the West by the “ glorious reign of 
Justinian.” Although in crediting this account some allowance must be 
made for oratorical exaggeration, yet it is certain that Africa and Italy 
emerged from the many years of warfare to a great extent ruined, and 
that a terrible economic and financial crisis accompanied the imperial 
restoration. During many years Africa suffered all the horrors inci- 
dent to Berber incursions, military revolts, destruction of the country 
by sword and fire, and the murder and flight of the population. The 
inevitable consequences of the struggle pressed no less hardly on Italy, 
which underwent the horrors of long sieges, famine, massacre, disease, 
the passage of the Goths, and the passage of imperialists, added to the 
furious devastations of the Alemanni. The largest towns, such as 
Naples, Milan, and specially Rome were almost devoid of inhabitants, 
the depopulated country was uncultivated, and the large Italian pro- 
prietors were repaid for their devotion to Byzantium and their hostility 
to Totila by total ruin. 

The exactions of the soldiers added yet more wretchedness. By their 
greed, insolence and depredations the imperialists made those whom they 
declared free regret the barbarian domination. The new administration 
added the harshest financial tyranny to the misery caused by the war. 
Justinian was obliged to get money at any cost, and therefore the barely 
conquered country was given over to the pitiless exactions of the agents 
of the fisc. The provinces were not only expected to support unaided 
the expense of the very complicated administration imposed on them by 
Justinian, but were further obliged to send money to Constantinople for 
the general needs of the monarchy. ‘The imperial logothetae applied the 
burdensome system of Roman taxes to the ruined countries without 
making any allowance for the prevailing distress. They mercilessly 
demanded arrears dating from the time of the Goths, falsified the 
registers in order to increase the returns, and enriched themselves at the 
expense of the taxpayer to such an extent that, according to a 
contemporary writer, “ nothing remained for the inhabitants but to die, 
since they were bereft of all the necessities of life.” 

Desolate, helpless, brought to the lowest straits, the Western 
provinces begged the Emperor to help them in their misery if he did 
not wish, to quote the official document, “ that they should be overcome 
by the impossibility of paying their debts.” Justinian heard this appeal. 
Measures were taken in Africa to restore cultivation to the fields, the 
country districts were repeopled, various works of public utility were 
organised in the towns, ports were opened on the coasts, hydraulic 

CH. I. 

24 Results of Justinian’s Reign 

works were supported or repaired in the interior of the land, and new 
cities were founded in the wilds of the high Numidian plateau. Carthage 
itself, newly adorned with a palace, churches, splendid baths and 
fashionable squares, shewed the interest taken by the prince in his new 
provinces. The result of all this was a real prosperity. Similar measures 
were taken in Italy, either to tide over the crisis resulting from the mass 
of debts and give time to the debtors, or to alleviate in some degree 
the crushing burden of the taxes. At the same time the Emperor 
busied himself in the restoration of the great aristocracy which had 
been broken down by Totila, but to which he looked for the chief 
support of the new régime. For a similar reason he protected and 
enriched the Church, and set himself as in Africa by means of the 
development of public works to repair the evils of the war. Ravenna 
was beautified by such buildings as San Vitale and San Apollinare in 
Classe, and became a capital; Milan was raised from her ruins, Rome 
was put in possession of privileges likely to lead to an economic revival, 
and Naples became a great commercial port. 

Unfortunately, in spite of Justinian’s good intentions, the financial 
burden weighed too heavily upon a depopulated Italy to allow of any 
real revival. In the greater number of towns industry and commerce 
disappeared ; lack of implements hindered the improvement of the land, 
and large uncultivated and desert tracts remained in the country. The 
middle classes tended more and more to disappear, at the same time 
that the aristocracy either became impoverished or left the country. 
Justinian exerted himself in vain to restore order and prosperity by 
promising to protect his new subjects from the well-known greed of his 
officials: the imperial restoration marked, at any rate in Italy, the 
beginning of a decadence which long darkened her history. 





Ar the time when Justinian was only heir-presumptive of the 
Empire, probably in the year 520, he met the lady who was to become 
the Empress Theodora. Daughter of one of the bear-keepers of the 
hippodrome, brought up by an indulgent mother amongst the society 
which frequented the purlieus of the circus, this young girl, beautiful, 
intelligent and witty—if we may believe the gossip of the Secret History 
—soon succeeded in charming and scandalising the capital. At the 
theatre where she appeared in tableaux vivants and pantomimes she 
ventured on the most audacious representations: in town she became 
famous for the follies of her entertainments, the boldness of her manners 
and the multitude of her lovers. Next she disappeared, and after a 
somewhat unlovely adventure she travelled through the East in a 
wretched manner for some time—according to contemporary gossip. 
She was seen at Alexandria, where she became known to several of the 
leaders of the Monophysite party, and returned—perhaps under their 
influence—to a more Christian and purer mode of life. She was again 
seen at Antioch, and then returned to Constantinople, matured and wiser. 
Then it was that she made a conquest of Justinian. She soon wielded 
the strongest influence over her lover: desperately in love, the prince 
could refuse nothing that his mistress requested. He heaped riches 
upon her, obtained for her the title of patrician, and became the humble 
minister of her hatred or her affection. Finally he wished to marry her 
legally, and was able to do so in 523, thanks to the complaisance of 
Justin. When, in April 527, Justinian was associated in the Empire, 
Theodora shared the elevation and the triumph of her husband. She 
ascended the throne with him in August 527, and for twenty years the 
adventuress-Empress exercised a sovereign influence on the course of 

Theodora’s name may still be read with that of the Emperor on the 
walls of churches and over the doors of castles of that date. Her 
picture makes a fellow to that of her imperial husband in the church of 

CH. II, 

26 The Empress Theodora [527-548 

San Vitale in Ravenna, and also in the mosaics which decorated the 
rooms of the Sacred Palace, for it was Justinian’s wish to associate her 
with the military triumphs and the splendours of the reign. The 
grateful people raised statues to her as to Justinian, the officials also 
swore fidelity to her, for she was the Emperor’s equal throughout her 
life, while ambassadors and foreign kings hastened to her to pay their 
respects and to gain her good will as well as that of the basileus. In 
deliberating on the most important occasions Justinian always took 
council of “the most honoured wife which God had given him,” whom 
he loved to call “his sweetest charm,” and contemporaries agree in 
declaring that she did not scruple to use the boundless influence which 
she possessed, and that her authority was equal to, if not greater than, 
that of her husband. Certainly this ambitious lady possessed many 
eminent qualities to justify the supreme authority which she wielded. 
She was a woman of unshaken courage, as she proved in the troublous 
time of the Nika rising, proud energy, masculine resolution, a determined 
and a clear mind, and a strong will by which she frequently overruled the 
vacillating Justinian. She undoubtedly combined defects and even vices 
with these qualities. She was domineering and harsh, she loved money 
and power. To keep the throne to which she had risen she would stoop 
to deceit, violence and cruelty; she was implacable in her dislikes, and 
inflexible towards those whom she hated. By means of a disgraceful 
intrigue she pitilessly destroyed the fortunes of John of Cappadocia, the 
all-powerful praetorian praefect, who dared for one moment to dispute 
her supremacy (541). She made Belisarius bitterly expiate his rare 
lapses into independence, and by the ascendancy which she gained over 
Antonina, the patrician’s wife, she made him her humble and obedient 
servant. As passionate in her loves as in her hates, she advanced 
her favourites without scruple. Peter Barsymes was made praetorian 
praefect, Narses a general, Vigilius a pope, while she turned the 
imperial palace into a hotbed of incessant intrigues. Her influence was 
not always good—though the loungers of Constantinople have strangely 
lengthened the list of her cruelties and increased the number of her 
victims—but it was always powerful. Even when she was forced 
temporarily to give way before circumstances, her audacious and supple 
wit was always able to devise some startling retaliation. Wily and 
ambitious, she always aspired to have the last word—and she got it. 

In the twenty years during which Theodora reigned she had a hand 
in everything ; in politics, and in the Church; in the administration, 
she advised the reforms, and filled it with her protégés ; in diplomacy, 
concerning which the Emperor never decided anything without her 
advice. She made and unmade popes and patriarchs, ministers and 
generals at her pleasure, not even fearing, when she considered it 
necessary, openly to thwart Justinian’s wishes. She was the active help- 
mate to her husband in all important matters. In the legislative reform 

527-548 | The Empress Theodora 27 

her feminism inspired the measures which dealt with divorce, adultery, 
the sanctity of the marriage-tie, and those meant to assist actresses and 
fallen women. In the government of the East her lucid and keen 
intelligence discovered and advised a policy more suited to the true 
interests of the State than that actually pursued, and if it had been 
carried out, it might have changed the course of history itself by 
making the Byzantine Empire stronger and more durable. 

While Justinian, carried away by the grandeur of Roman traditions, 
rose to conceptions in turn magnificent and impossible, and dreamed of 
restoring the Empire of the Caesars and of inaugurating the reign of 
orthodoxy by reunion with Rome, Theodora, by birth an Oriental, 
and in other respects more far-seeing and acute than her husband, 
immediately turned her attention to the East. She had always 
sympathised with the Monophysites; even before she had become 
Empress she had willingly received them at the palace, and allowed 
them to draw on her credit. She admired their teachers, and loved the 
unpolished candour of their monks. She was not actuated by piety 
alone, for she had too much political instinct not to realise the im- 
portance of religious questions in a Christian State, and the peril 
attending indifference to them. But while Justinian, with the mind of 
a theologian, occupied himself with religious questions primarily for the 
empty pleasure of being able to dogmatise, Theodora, like all the great 
Byzantine Emperors, recognised the main features of political problems 
under the fleeting form of theological disagreements. She realised that 
the rich and flourishing provinces of Asia, Syria and Egypt really formed 
the mainstay of the Empire; and she felt that the religious differences 
by which the Oriental nations manifested their separatist tendencies 
threatened danger to the monarchy. Furthermore she saw the necessity 
for pacifying the growing discontent by means of opportune concessions 
and a wide toleration, and she forced the imperial policy to shape itself 
to this end; and carried with her the ever worried and vacillating 
Justinian, even so far as to brave the Papacy and protect the heretics. 
It is only fair to say that she foresaw the future more clearly and 
grasped the situation more accurately than did her imperial associate. 

Before the advent of Justin’s dynasty Anastasius’ dreams of an ideal 
monarchy may have taken this form or something approaching it. He 
may have imagined an essentially Oriental Empire, having well-defended 
frontiers, a wise administration, sound finances and blessed with religious 
unity. To realise this last he would not have hesitated at a breach 
with Rome if it had become necessary. In spite of his efforts and good 
intentions Anastasius had not succeeded in realising his ideal. But it 
was right in principle and, thanks to Theodora, it inspired the policy of 
Justinian in the East. In this way the Empress made a great impression 
on her husband’s government, and as soon as she died a decay set in 
which brought the glorious reign to a sad close. 

CH. I. 


8 First Persian War [527-531 


The imperial policy in the West had been essentially offensive. In 
the East, on the other hand, it was generally restricted to a defensive 
attitude. Justinian submitted to war or accepted it when offered rather 
than sought it, because he was anxious to preserve all his forces for 
Africa and Italy. Thus he maintained the safety of the monarchy in the 
East less by a series of great victories than by military arrangements 
combined with clever diplomatic action. 

In Asia, Persia had been the perpetual enemy of the Romans for 
centuries. There was a ceaseless temptation to strife and a pretext for 
warfare in the coincidence of the two frontiers, and the rival influence 
which the two States exercised in Armenia in the Caucasus, and among 
the Arab tribes of the Syrian desert. The hundred years’ peace 
concluded in 422 had certainly restored tranquillity for the rest of the 
fifth century, but hostilities had broken out afresh in the reign of 
Anastasius (502); and it was evident that the peace of 505 would only 
prove to be a truce, although Persia was torn by domestic discord, and 
had lost her prestige and strength, and her old king Kawad did not 
seek adventures. In proportion as Justinian profited by the relative 
weakness of his foes he attempted to bring more peoples into the relation 
of clients to Rome. Such were the populations of Lazica (the ancient 
Colchis), the tribes of Iberia and Georgia, and even the Sabirian 
Huns who occupied the celebrated defiles of the Caspian Gates at 
the foot of the Caucasus range on the boundary of the two Empires. 
With great skill Byzantine diplomacy, by spreading Christianity in 
those regions, had inclined the peoples to wish for the protection of 
the orthodox Emperor, and so had obtained possession of important 
strategic and commercial posts for Greek use. This policy of encroach- 
ment was bound to lead to a rupture, which came in 527, during the 
last months of Justin’s reign. 

The war however was neither very long nor disastrous. Neither of 
the two adversaries wanted to fight to the death. Kawad, who had 
taken up arms, was distracted by domestic difficulties and the task of 
assuring the succession of his son. Justinian wanted to disengage himself 
as soon as possible in order to have his hands free to deal with affairs in 
the West. Under these conditions the imperial army, which was of a 
good size, and well commanded by Belisarius, was able to snatch a signal 
victory at Dara in 530, the first victory won against Persia for many 
years, Another general was able to make considerable progress in 
Persian Armenia at the same time, but Justinian did not set himself 
seriously to profit by his successes. The next year a Persian invasion of 
Syria forced Belisarius to engage in and to lose the disastrous battle of 
Callinicum (531). Then, in spite of the fact that the Persians were 

531-544 | Second Persian War 29 

besieging Martyropolis (531) and that a career of pillage had brought 
the Huns under the very walls of Antioch (December 531), the Great 
King troubled as little to push his advantages as the Emperor did 
to avenge his defeat. Negotiations were as important in this war as 
military operations. When therefore in September 531 the death of 
Kawad gave the throne to his son Chosroes I Anoushirvan, the new 
sovereign was preoccupied by the endeavour to consolidate his power at 
home, and willingly joined in the negotiations which ended in the 
conclusion of an “everlasting peace,” in September 532. Justinian was 
delighted to end the war, and gave way on almost every point. He 
agreed to pay once more the annual subsidy which the Romans had 
handed over to the Persians to keep up the fortresses which defended 
the passes of the Caucasus against the Northern barbarians. This was 
a large sum of 110,000 pounds of gold, a thinly veiled form of tribute. 
He promised to move the residence of the Duke of Mesopotamia from 
Dara, the great fortress built by Anastasius in 507, to Constantina, 
which was further from the frontier; and he abandoned the protectorate 
over Iberia. In return the country of the Lazi remained within the 
sphere of Byzantine influence, and the Persians evacuated the fortresses 
in it. 

But Chosroes was not the man to rest contented with these first 
successes. He was a young prince, ambitious, active and anxious for 
conquests. It was not without suspicion that he viewed the progress and 
success of the imperial ambition, for he knew that the longing for 
universal dominion might well form a menace to the Sassanid monarchy, 
as well as to the West. He therefore made use of the years which followed 
the peace of 532 to reconstruct his army, and when he saw what seemed 
to him a favourable opportunity, he resolutely began the war again (540). 
This happened when he discovered that the Roman frontier was stripped 
of troops, Armenia and the country of the Lazi discontented under 
Byzantine rule, and the Goths at bay after the Vandals were conquered. 
At the beginning of hostilities he threw himself on Syria, which he 
cruelly ravaged, and seized Antioch, which he completely ruined under 
the eyes of the helpless Roman generals. In vain Justinian sent the 
best generals against him, first Germanus and then Belisarius, hastily 
recalled from Italy at the beginning of 541. Their troops were not 
sufficient to defend the country effectively. In 541, Chosroes attacked 
Lazica, reduced Iberia and swept away the strong fortress of Petra, which 
Justinian had lately built to the south of Phasis. In 542 he ravaged 
Commagene; in 543 he made a demonstration on the Armenian frontier ; 
and in 544 he again appeared in Mesopotamia which he ravaged cruelly, 
in spite of the heroic resistance of Edessa. Meanwhile the imperial 
troops did nothing: and the generals spent their time in intrigues 
instead of in fighting. The military prestige of Belisarius had made 
Chosroes give way for a brief space, but the general was absorbed in his 

CH, Il. 

30 Second Persian War [ 542-561 

domestic troubles, and let slip the time when he should have taken the 
offensive with vigour ; and by so doing more or less justified the disgrace 
which soon overtook him through Theodora’s ill-will (542). The only 
military enterprise undertaken in 543 by Justinian’s army was the invasion 
of Persian Armenia, with more than 30,000 men, and it led to a great 
disaster. ‘The Emperor was seriously concerned with events in Italy 
—Totila had just reconquered nearly the whole peninsula—and he was 
very lucky to be able to buy with gold a truce for five years, instead of 
a final peace (545). Thanks to the renewal of this convention in 551 
and 552 the Asiatic provinces enjoyed tranquillity once more, though 
the war continued in Lazica for many years afterwards. 

It was an easy matter for the diplomacy of the two Empires to win 
allies from amongst the belligerent tribes of the Caucasus, since their 
good faith was always an uncertain quantity. While the Lazi, who were 
discontented under the Persian tyranny, returned to Justinian in 549, 
other peoples who had formerly been within the Byzantine sphere of 
influence now attached themselves to Chosroes. Furthermore the war 
seemed unending in a country rendered almost impassable by mountains 
and forests. A struggle was maintained for several years over Petra. 
Taken by the Persians in 541, it was attacked in vain by the Byzantines 
in 549, and was only finally regained in 551. Other places were attacked 
and defended with equal tenacity. Justinian realised the importance of 
possessing a region which would enable him to deprive the Persians of 
an outlet on the Black Sea, and therefore he made unheard-of efforts to 
keep it. He concentrated as many as 50,000 men there in 552. Finally 
Chosroes saw the uselessness of the interminable strife; and the armistice 
of 555 was turned into a definite treaty in 561. Peace was declared 
for fifty years, and the Persians agreed to evacuate Lazica, where they 
knew that their power could hardly be maintained, since the people were 
enthusiastically Christian. But the Emperor’s success was dearly bought. 
He bound himself to pay an annual tribute of 30,000 aurei, handing 
over the sum-total for the first seven years in advance. He promised 
for the future to discontinue any religious propaganda in the dominions 
of the Great King, in return for the extension of toleration to Christians 
in Persia. ‘These concessions dealt a blow at Justinian’s pride as an 
Emperor and a Christian. However, Lazica remained to him, and it 
was a considerable gain in the direction of securing the safety of the 
Empire. Still the treaty was intentionally so vague in some points that 
it contained the beginnings of many future difficulties. 

While Roman Asia was cruelly suffering from these endless wars, the 
European provinces were not escaping. Although the shock of the great 
barbarian invasions had shaken the East much less than the West, a 
succession of barbarian peoples were settled north of the Danube. The 
Lombards, Heruls and Gepidae were on the west; Slavs and Bulgars, 
Antae and Huns on the lower reaches of the river, while behind them 

527-562 | The Huns 31 

lay the strong nation of Avars, still roving to the north of the Palus 
Maeotis but gradually spreading themselves westward. The Empire 
proved as attractive to these barbarians as to those who had invaded 
the West. They had all one wish and one aim—some day to become 
members of the rich and civilised commonwealth, whose towns were 
fair, whose fields were fertile, and in which men received great treasures 
and honour from the hand of the Emperor. Without doubt these 
sentiments were largely inspired by greed of the splendid plunder that 
the Roman territory offered to the enterprise of the barbarians, and if 
their peaceful offers were declined they did not hesitate to keep their 
vows by the use of force. Thus, at the end of the fifth century the 
tribes had formed the habit of crossing the Danube periodically, either 
in unnoticed driblets, or by sudden invasions, and certain groups were 
legally settled on the south side of the river by the beginning of the 
sixth century. The movement continued during the whole of Justinian’s 

From the beginning of his reign the Huns had appeared in Thrace 
and the Antae in Ilyricum; but they were repulsed with such energy 
that, according to Malalas, “a great terror overcame the barbarian 
nations.” Soon however the resistance gave way. As had been the 
case in Asia, the frontier was denuded of troops in consequence of the 
expeditions to the West, and the boldness of the invaders increased. 
In 534 the Slavs and Bulgars crossed the Danube, and the magister 
militum of Thrace perished in the attempt to drive them back. In 538 
the Huns invaded Scythia and Moesia, in 540 they went further and 
ravaged Thrace, Illyricum and Greece as far as the Isthmus of Corinth. 
One of their bands even penetrated to the environs of Constantinople, 
and spread a terrible panic in the capital. In 546 there was another 
Hunnish invasion, in 547 an attack from the Slavs who devastated 
Illyricum as far as Dyrrachium, while the imperial generals did not even 
dare to face them. In 551 a band of three thousand Slavs pillaged 
Thrace and Ilyricum and advanced as far as the Aegean Sea. In 552 
the Slavs and Antae menaced Thessalonica and settled themselves on 
Byzantine land as though they had conquered it. In 558 the Kotrigur 
Huns pushed into Thrace, one of their bands reaching Thermopylae, 
while another appeared under the walls of Constantinople, which was 
only just saved by the courage of the old Belisarius. In 562 the 
Huns reappeared. Then the insolent and menacing Avars became 
prominent, on the very eve of Justinian’s death. It is quite certain that 
none of these incursions would have led to the permanent establishment 
of a barbarian people within the limits of the Empire, as had happened 
in the West, for the imperial generals were always finally successful in 
hurling the swarms of invaders back over the Danube. At the same 
time the incessant scourge could not fail to produce lamentable 
consequences in the provinces which suffered from it. Procopius 

CH. II, 

32 Justinian’s Fortresses 

estimates that more than 200,000 people were either slain or led 
captive during its course. He also compares the annually ravaged 
lands to the “Scythian deserts,” and tells how the folk were forced 
to flee to the forests and mountains to avoid the outrages and 
atrocities which the barbarians would have inflicted upon them. 

However, in Asia as in Europe, Justinian had taken wise and 
vigorous measures to secure the defence of his provinces, to give them, 
as he said, “ peace and tranquillity,” and to remove the “temptation to 
invade and ravage the countries where the Emperor’s subjects dwelt” 
from the barbarians. With this object of efficiency in view he re- 
organised the great military commands which were created to guard 
the frontier. In Asia one general, the magister militum of the East, 
had commanded the enormous district reaching from the Black Sea 
to Egypt. This command was too large, and Justinian divided it, 
instituting magistri militum for Armenia and Mesopotamia. In 
Europe he added a magister militum of Moesia to those of Ilyricum 
and Thrace. But above all, for the immediate defence of the frontier 
he organised all along the limes military districts commanded by 
duces and occupied by special troops, the limitanei. We have already 
seen how the duties and divisions of this formation were determined 
in Africa. The same system was extended to the whole Empire, and 
a large strip of military lands round its whole circumference assured 
the safety of the interior. Although several of these limites were in 
existence before the time of Justinian, he had the merit of organising 
and completing the whole system. Three limites were formed in Egypt, 
several commands were halved in Syria and on the Euphrates, and duces 
were established in Armenia, while others kept watch on the Danube, in 
Scythia, in the two Moesias and in Dacia. Thus the barbarians were 
again confronted with the opposing wall that used to be called “the 
monarchy’s wrapper” (praetentura imperit). 

Justinian also busied himself in building a continuous chain of 
fortresses along all the frontiers, as he had done in Africa. Rome had 
formerly been forced to undertake the immediate defence of the frontiers 
of the Empire in order to protect her territories. Justinian did more. 
Behind the first line of castella, and attached to them by a succession of 
stations, he built a series of large fortresses placed further apart, and 
more important. These served to strengthen the frontier castles, made 
a second barrier against invasion, and were a place of refuge for the 
inhabitants of the country. Thus the whole district was covered with 
strong castles. They were of unequal importance and strength, but 
they kept a watch on the enemy’s territory, occupied points of strategic 
importance, barred the defiles, commanded the important routes, 
protected the safety of the towns and sheltered the rural population. 
They covered all the provinces with a close-meshed net of fortresses, a 

Justinian’s Buildings 33 

network through which it seemed impossible for the enemy to slip. It 
had taken only a few years for Justinian’s resolution to raise or repair 
hundreds of fortresses, from the Danube to the Armenian mountains, and 
to the banks of the Euphrates. If ancient Roman posts were merely 
repaired at some points, while at others it was only necessary to complete 
buildings begun by Anastasius, yet the dazed admiration which con- 
temporaries seem to have felt for this colossal work was justified, for 
Justinian gave unity to the whole system and displayed the greatest 
energy in carrying it out. According to Procopius, by it he truly 
“saved the monarchy.” 

In his De Aedificits Procopius gives the detailed list of the countless 
buildings repaired or built by the Emperor’s orders. Here it must 
suffice to notice the chief features of the work. On the Danube more 
than eighty castles were built or restored between the place where the 
Save enters that river and the Black Sea. Among them may be men- 
tioned Singidunum (Belgrade), Octavum, Viminacium, Novae, further to 
the east Ratiaria, Augusta, Securisca, Durostorum (Silistria), Troesmis, 
and, on the left bank, the strongly fortified bridge of Lederata. These 
were for the most part ancient Roman citadels newly repaired. 
Justinian’s original work consisted chiefly in the measures which he took 
to strengthen the rear. Hundreds of castella sprang up in Dacia, 
Dardania, and Moesia, further south in Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. 
Thus there was a second and even a third line of defence. In Dardania 
alone, Justinian’s native country, Procopius enumerates more than one 
hundred and fifty castella besides such great posts as Justiniana Prima, 
Sardica and Naissus. Fortifications were even constructed on the shore 
of the Sea of Marmora and the Archipelago. ‘To protect Constantinople 
Anastasius had built the Long Wall in 512. It ran from the Sea of 
Marmora to Selymbria on the Black Sea. Similar long walls covered the 
Thracian Chersonesus, barred the passes of ‘Thermopylae, and cut across 
the Isthmus of Corinth. Fortresses were also raised in Thessaly and 
northern Greece. Thus the whole of the Balkan peninsula formed a 
vast entrenched camp. On the side of the Euxine long walls protected 

‘the approaches to Cherson, and the strong castle of Petra Justiniana 
defended Lazica. ‘Then several lines of fortresses were drawn up from 
Trebizond to the Euphrates. In Armenia there was 'Theodosiopolis 
(now Erzeroum), Kitharizon and Martyropolis; in Mesopotamia Amida, 
Constantina, Dara, called “the rampart of the Roman Empire,” and 
another Theodosiopolis ; Circesium was on the Euphrates and Zenobia 
and Palmyra on the borders of the desert. Added to these there were 
the intermediate castella which connected the big fortresses. A little to 
the rear, in the second line, were Satala, Coloneia, Nicopolis, Sebaste, 
Melitene, “the bulwark of Armenia,” Edessa, Carrhae, Callinicum in 
Osrhoene, Sura, Hierapolis, Zeugma in the Euphrates district, and 
Antioch after the catastrophe of 540. These made a formidable field 

Cc. MED. H. VOL. Il. CH. II. 3 

34 Justinian’s Diplomacy 

for warfare. It is certain that all these buildings do not date from 
Justinian’s reign, but he must have the credit of combining them all 
into a sure and splendid defensive system. 

Military methods alone were not employed for the defence of the 
Empire in the East. The imperial diplomacy was putting forth all its 
powers to that end, and displayed wonderful skill and ingenuity in the 
task. The Empire always possessed a great influence over the bar- 
barians settled on the Roman frontiers. They were proud when their 
services and good faith won for them the approval of the basileus. They 
gladly placed their forces at his disposal when they received the annual 
subsidy (annona), and became the auxiliaries and vassals of the Empire, 
bearing the name of foederati. Their chiefs felt themselves honoured 
when they received the splendid insignia of their commands from the 
hands of the basileus. They gladly adorned themselves with titles culled 
from the hierarchy of the palace, and hastened to declare themselves to be 
“¢ Slaves of the imperial Majesty.” Constantinople and the Court dazzled 
their simple minds, they flocked there gladly, and it was easy for the 
Emperor by the mere splendour of their reception to impress them with 
a great idea of the strength of the monarchy. During the whole 
of Justinian’s reign the Sacred Palace was filled with a never-ending 
succession of strange and barbaric sovereigns. Heruls, Huns, Gepidae, 
Avars, Saracens, Axumitae, Lazi, Iberians, men of every race and of every 
land, with their wives and children and their retinue in picturesque 
garments, filled the capital with a babel of all the tongues in the 
universe. ‘They were loaded with honours, presents, and magnificent 
demonstrations of affection, and returned to their native wilds dazzled 
by the spectacle of the imperial majesty. Naturally they felt them- 
selves only too happy to be allowed to serve this basileus who gave 
so warm a welcome to his faithful servitors, and recompensed them so 

Thus by the clever distribution of favours and money the Emperor 
was able to maintain a fringe of barbarian clients on all his frontiers. 
At the same time the authorities at Byzantium never forgot that the 
fickle and perfidious allies might prove to be dangerous servants because 
of their indiscipline, faithlessness and greed. The imperial diplomacy 
watched them with an eagle eye, skilfully treating them with a mixture 
of sternness and leniency ; and endeavouring to render them harmless by 
the policy of setting them against each other, and fostering rivalry and 
hatred amongst them. Justinian maintained a possible rival to every 
barbarian king, he had always a hostile people waiting his word to 
descend on every other people. The Lombards menaced the Gepidae, 
the Utigurs the Kotrigurs, the Avars the Huns. Thus, as Agathias 
wrote, “so long as the barbarians destroyed each other, the Emperor was 
always victor without drawing his sword, no matter what was the end of 

Justiman’s Diplomacy 35 

the struggle.” Formerly Rome had found the same methods necessary 
to govern the barbarians. Byzantium was able to add to the Roman 
traditions the influence which she wielded because of her propagation of 
Christianity. Her missionaries worked for the consolidation of the 
imperial power as effectively as her diplomatists. They opened a road 
for politicians, and prepared new territories for Byzantine influence and 
civilisation. Thanks to them conversions increased everywhere, from 
the plains of southern Russia to the Abyssinian plateau, and from the 
Caucasus Mountains to the oases of the Sahara. 

By means of Christianity Byzantine influence spread beyond the 
boundaries of the Empire in Justinian’s reign, and many were the peoples 
affected by it; Huns from the Cimmerian Bosphorus, Souanians, Abasgi, 
Apsilians from the Caucasus district, Alans, and Sabirian Huns, Tzani 
from the upper Euphrates, Arabs from Syria, Himyarites from Yemen, 
Nobadae and Blemmyes from the upper Nile, Berbers from the oases of 
the Sahara, and Heruls from Moesia. 

By these means Justinian was able to checkmate his enemies. In the 
East he sought amongst the Sabirian Huns for allies against the Sassanid 
monarchy, because they could rush upon the Persian realm from the 
north. He also went to the Arabs of the Syrian desert because they 
might make useful diversions from the south, and he formed them into 
a unique State, under the phylarchus Harith the Ghassanid (531). Not 
content with this, he went yet further and made friends among the Arabs 
on the Yemen and in the Ethiopian kingdom of Axum. In the West 
he skilfully managed to sow discord amongst the tribes who crowded on 
the Danube frontier, checking the Bulgars by the Huns, the Huns by the 
Antae, and the Antae and Utigurs by the Avars. He scattered money 
and lands liberally amongst them all, loading their ambassadors with 
silken robes and golden chains, in return for which he only asked them 
to supply Byzantium with soldiers. In this way he settled the Lombards 
in Pannonia, the Heruls in Dacia, and the Kotrigur Huns in Thrace. 
He offered the Avars lands suitable for settlement on the Save, and 
similarly managed to procure a number of vassals on all the frontiers of 
the Empire. On the Danube there were the Heruls, Gepidae, Lombards, 
Huns and Antae; on the borders of Armenia the Lazi and 'Tzani; on 
the Syrian frontier the crowd of Arab tribes ; in Africa the Berber 
inhabitants of Byzacena, Numidia and Mauretania. 

Thus with wonderful skill Justinian exercised the difficult art of 
ruling barbarians, and he did it from the depth of his palace and capital. 
Contemporaries waxed eloquent in praise of the prudence, the fairness 
and delicacy displayed by the Emperor in carrying out this policy, and 
in celebrating that ev8ovAia by which, according to Menander, he 
would have destroyed the barbarians without fighting if he had lived 
long enough.” However this policy was not without its dangers. By 
displaying the riches of the Empire to the barbarians, and by lavishly 

CH. Ii. a 

36 Defects of Justinian’s Diplomacy 

distributing money and lands amongst them, their demands were 
naturally increased enormously, and their invasions provoked. Procopius 
very wisely observed that ‘‘ once they had tasted Byzantine wealth it was 
impossible to keep them from it, or to make them forget the road to it.” 
The obvious antidote for the dangers of this course of diplomacy was a 
strong military organisation. Procopius again wrote “there is no other 
way of compelling the barbarians to keep faith with Rome except by the 
fear of the imperial armies.” Justinian understood this quite well. 
Unfortunately, in proportion as the West again absorbed the resources 
and attention of the Empire, lack of money led to the disorganisation 
of those military institutions which had been formed to protect the East. 
Corps of Lémitanei were disbanded, the fighting force of the troops of the 
line in Syria was diminished, strong positions were left undefended, 
often bereft of garrisons altogether, and Justinian’s excellent network of 
fortresses no longer sufficed to keep out the barbarians. The Emperor 
seemed to prefer diplomatic action by itself to the practical military 
precautions that he had applied so actively at the beginning of his reign. 
He thought it more clever to buy off the invaders than to beat them by 
force of arms, he considered it cheaper to subsidise the barbarians than 
to maintain a large army on a war footing; he found it more agreeable 
to direct a subtle diplomacy than great military operations, and he never 
realised that the first result of his policy was to encourage the barbarians 
to return. 

This was the fundamental defect of Justinian’s foreign policy in the 
Kast. It rested on a skilful combination of military force and diplomacy. 
As long as the balance was maintained between these two elements 
equilibrium was secured, the end aimed at was attained, and the Empire 
was well defended and comparatively safe. But when this balance was 
upset, everything went wrong at once. The Slavs appeared at Hadrianople, 
the Huns under the walls of Constantinople, while the Avars assumed a 
threatening attitude and regions of the Balkans were terribly ravaged. 
Procopius was justified when he reproached Justinian with having “ wasted 
the riches of the Empire in extravagant gifts to the barbarians,” and in 
his assertion that the Emperor's rash generosity only incited them to 
return perpetually “to sell the peace for which they were always well 
paid.” ‘The historian goes on to explain that ‘‘after them came others, 
who made a double profit, from the rapine in which they indulged and 
from the money with which the liberality of the prince always furnished 
them. ‘Thus the evil continued with no abatement, and there was no 
escape from the vicious circle.” 

This mistaken policy cost the Empire dear. Nevertheless, it was 
founded on a right principle, and some of the results which it 
produced were not to be despised, in connexion with the defence of 
territory, the development of commerce, or the spread of civilisation. 
Justinian’s mistake—specially during the last years of his reign—lay in 

Domestic Government 37 

the fact that he carried the system to excess. When he allowed the 
army to become disorganised and fortresses to fall into ruin he bereft 
his diplomacy of the force that was necessary to support his plans. 
When he ceased to awe the barbarians he found himself at their mercy. 


The domestic government of the East took up as much of Justinian’s 
attention as the defence of the territory. The urgent need for adminis- 
trative reform in the midst of a serious religious crisis provided ample 
food for his anxiety. 

In Byzantium the sale of public offices was an ancient custom, and 
this venality led to deplorable results. The governors expected to recoup 
themselves from the province for the expenses which they incurred in 
obtaining their posts, and to enrich themselves to as great an extent as 
possible while they held them. The other agents in so corrupt an 
administration only followed the governor’s example, when they pillaged 
and crushed the district to their heart’s content. The financial system 
was oppressive and exacting ; justice was sold or partially administered, 
and deep misery and general insecurity was the natural result. ‘The 
people left the country, the towns were emptied, the fields deserted, and 
agriculture abandoned. While those who were strong or rich enough to 
defend themselves managed to escape the exactions of the tax-collector, 
the great proprietors maintained troops of armed men in their pay, and 
ravaged the country, attacked people and seized land, sure of immunity 
from the magistrates. Everywhere murder, brigandage, agitation and 
risings abounded, and last and most serious result of all the disorders, 
the returns of the taxes from the exhausted provinces were but scanty. 
Justinian calculated that only one-third of the taxes imposed really 
reached the treasury, and the misery of the subjects destroyed the source 
of the public wealth. It will be easy to understand why the Emperor felt 
so much concern at affairs in the East, if we add that the laws abounded 
in contradictions, obscurities and useless prolixity, which gave rise to 
very long law-suits, and furnished an opportunity for the judges to give 
arbitrary decisions, or to decide matters to suit their own convenience. 

Justinian, as we know, had the qualities that go to make a good 
administrator. He loved order, he had a sincere wish to do good work, 
and a real care for the well-being of his subjects. With an authoritative 
disposition and absolutist tendencies, he combined a taste for adminis- 
trative centralisation. But above all, his vast projects left him incessantly 
in need of large sums of money. He saw that the best way to ensure 
the regularity of the returns was to protect those who paid from the 
functionaries who ruined them; and thus in furthering the well-being 
and quiet of his subjects the Emperor was also serving the best interests 

CH, II. 

38 Justinian’s Legislation [533-536 
of the fisc. Moreover it satisfied Justinian’s pride to maintain the 
tradition of the great Roman Emperors by being a reformer and 
legislator. For these various reasons from the time of his accession 
he undertook a double work. In order to give the Empire certain and 
unquestionable laws he had legislative monuments drawn up under 
Tribonian’s direction, which are known as Justinian’s Code (529), the 
Digest (533), the Institutes (533), and completed by the series of Novellae 

The details of Justinian’s legislative work will be found in another 
chapter. All that is done here is to indicate their place in the reign as 
a whole and in the general policy of the Emperor. After the great crisis 
of the Nika riot had clearly shewn him the public discontent and the 
faults of the government, he promulgated the two great ordinances of 
April 535. By these two documents Justinian laid down the principles 
of his administrative reform and shewed his functionaries the new duties 
which he expected of them. The sale of offices was abolished. To take 
all pretext for exploiting the population from the governors, their salaries 
were raised, while their prestige was increased in order to remove from 
them the temptation to yield to the demands of powerful private persons. 
But before all things, the Emperor wished his agents to be scrupulously 
honest, and was always urging them to keep their “hands clean.” He 
gave minute instructions to his magistrates, and bade them render 
the same justice to all, keep a watchful eye on the conduct of their 
subordinates, protect the subjects from all vexations, hinder the en- 
croachments of the great, ensure the maintenance of order by frequent 
progresses, and govern, in fact, “ paternally.” But above all he bade 
them neglect nothing that might defend the interests of the fisc, and 
increase its resources. 'To pay in the taxes regularly was the first duty 
of a good officer, as the first duty of a taxpayer was to acquit himself 
regularly and completely of the whole sum due. Furthermore, to ensure 
the carrying out of his plans, Justinian requested the bishops to inspect 
the conduct of the magistrates; and he invited anyone who wished to 
make complaints to come to Constantinople, and lay his grievances at 
the feet of the sovereign. 

During the years 535 and 536 a series of special measures was added 
to the general enactments. Their object was to strengthen the local 
government and to ensure obedience to the central power. In the fourth 
century the traditional method of conducting the administration was to 
multiply provincial districts, to complicate an endless hierarchy of officials 
and to separate civil and military authority. Justinian made a deter- 
mined break in these pedantic traditions. He desired to simplify the 
administration, to have fewer provinces but to have them better organ- 
ised. He also wished to diminish the number of officials, to give those 
that remained better salaries, and to make them stronger, and more 
dependent on the central government. To further this end he reduced 

535—539 | The Administration 89 

the number of circumscriptions, by uniting couples of them or by grouping 
them more reasonably. He suppressed the useless vicarii, who had been 
intermediaries between the provincial governors and the praetorian 
praefect, and he reunited the civil and military authority in the hands 
of the same officials in a great number of provinces. He created praetors 
in Pisidia, Lycaonia, Pamphylia and Thrace; counts in Isauria, Phrygia 
Pacatiana, Galatia, Syria and Armenia; an administrative moderator 
in the Hellespont; a proconsul to govern Cappadocia. The Emperor 
adorned all these officials with the high-sounding title of Justiniani, and 
they united authority over the troops stationed in their circumscription 
to their competence in civil matters. This was a great innovation and 
was fraught with serious consequences in the administrative history of 
the Byzantine Empire. 

The reorganisation of the judicial administration completed these 
useful measures. Justinian desired that justice should be administered 
with more speed and security in these provinces. In order to avoid the 
obstruction of business in the courts of the capital he made a series of 
courts of appeal midway between the court of the provincial governor 
and that of the praetorian praefect and the quaestor. Thus appeals 
were made easier and less burdensome to the subjects, and at the same 
time Constantinople was freed from the crowd of litigants who had 
flocked there, and who, since they were discontented and idle, were only 
too ready to join the ranks of thieves or agitators. 

One of the great difficulties confronting the government was the police 
of the capital. Praetors of the people were instituted there in 535, to 
judge cases of theft, adultery, murder, and to repress disturbances. In 
539 another magistrate, the quaesitor, was established, to rid the city of 
the crowd of provincials who obstructed it with no valid excuse. At the 
same time, probably owing to Theodora’s initiative, the guardians of 
public morals were reorganised, and rigorous mandates were issued to 
check excessive gambling, impious blasphemy and the scandal caused by 
infamous persons who did not wait for night to hide their deeds. 
To those who had been driven to vice by need rather than choice pro- 
tection was also given against the lenones who took advantage of them. 
The Empress’ charity was exercised to provide a refuge for these 
unfortunate girls, in the convent of Repentance (ueravova) established 
by her wish in an old imperial palace on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. 
But above all the various factions were closely watched, the games in the 
circus were suppressed for several years, and the tranquillity of the capital 
was undisturbed for at least fifteen years. 

This administrative work was completed by the great impetus which 
was given to the public works. In the instructions to his officials 
Justinian had commended to their attention the maintenance of roads, 
bridges, walls and aqueducts, and had promised large supplies for such 
purposes. In consequence new roads were everywhere made to facilitate 

CH, Il. 

40 The City of Constantinople [532-554 

communication, wells and reservoirs were established along them so that 
caravans might be supplied with water; bridges spanned the rivers, and 
the course of the streams was controlled. Schemes were carried out in 
order to supply drinking-water to the great towns in the Empire, and 
many public baths were built. After the disaster of 540 Antioch 
was rebuilt with unheard-of luxury. It was plentifully supplied with 
aqueducts, sewers, baths, public squares, theatres, and in fact with 
“everything which testifies to the prosperity of a town.” After the 
earthquakes of 551 and 554 the Syrian towns rose from their ruins more 
splendid than ever, thanks to Justinian’s munificence. The Empire was 
covered with new cities built at the prince’s wish, and bearing, to please 
him, the surname of ‘Justiniana.” 'Tauresium, the modest village in 
which the Emperor was born, became a great city in this way with the 
name of Justiniana Prima. It was populous and prosperous,, “‘ truly 
worthy of a basileus.” Constantinople, which had been partly destroyed 
by the fire of 532, was rebuilt with incomparable magnificence. The 
church of St Sophia was begun in 532 under the direction of Isidore 
of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, and finished in 537; the Sacred 
Palace with the Chalce vestibule was built in 538 and completely lined 
with mosaics and marbles, while the great throne-room or Consistoriwm 
was dazzling with the shimmer of precious metals. There were also 
the great square of the Augusteum, in the centre of which stood an 
equestrian statue of Justinian and which was surrounded on every side 
by splendid. monuments; the long porticoes which stretched from the 
imperial residence to the forum of Constantine; the church of the Holy 
Apostles, begun by Theodora in 536 and completed in 550; and the 
numerous hostels and hospitals founded by Justinian and Theodora, 
together with palaces and basilicae; all these attested the luxurious 
taste and magnificent pride of the Emperor. To this day the splendid 
reservoirs of Jerebatan-Serai and Bin-bir-Direk (the thousand and one 
columns) shew the trouble that was taken to supply the capital with 
drinking-water ; and the churches of St Irene, and SS. Sergius and 
Bacchus, above all St Sophia, that miracle of stability and boldness, 
of purity of line and brightness of colour, remain as incomparable 
witnesses to Justinian’s grandeur’, 

A solid economic prosperity justified so many expensive splendours. 
In order to develop industry and commerce in his Empire Justinian gave 
great attention to economic questions. He set himself to free the 
Byzantine merchants from the tyranny of middlemen who had oppressed 
them and to open fresh fields for their enterprise. As a matter of fact, 
in the sixth century Byzantium did not obtain exotic commodities 
and precious materials for her luxury straight from the countries 
which produced them. The land routes by which the products of the 

1 A fuller account of the city will be given in Vol. rv. 

530-554 | Trade 41 

Far Kast were brought to the Mediterranean from China through the 
Oases of Sogdiana, and the sea routes by which precious stones, 
spices and silk were brought from Ceylon to the ports on the 
Persian Gulf, were in the hands of Persia, Persia not only guarded 
these routes jealously, but also regulated with special severity the 
exportation of silk, which was indispensable to the Byzantines, Justinian 
determined to remedy this state of things. In the Black Sea, the ports 
of the Crimea, Bosporus and Cherson made, with the south of Russia, 
a splendid district for barter; besides this Byzantium, situated at the 
mouth of the Black Sea, carried on a brisk trade with Lazica. But, from 
the Sea of Azof, as well as from Colchis, the Caspian could be reached, 
and then if a northerly direction were taken the oases of Sogdiana could 
be reached without crossing Persian territory. Another route offered 
itself more to the south. The Syrian and Egyptian merchants set out 
from Aila on the Gulf of Akabah to work the shores of the Red Sea, and 
then extended their operations as far as the ports of Himyar on the east, 
and the great Ethiopian port of Adoulis on the west. But Adoulis kept 
up widespread relations with the whole of the Asiatic East, and her 
ships, like those of the Arabs of Yemen, went as far as Ceylon, the great 
emporium for India. Thanks to these routes, Justinian thought that he 
could divert the trade of which the Persians had the monopoly from the 
usual routes. During 530 or 531 strange negotiations took place with 
the Himyarites and the Court of Axum, with the object of persuading 
those peoples to agree with the Emperor’s plans, and to bring the 
products of the Far East straight to the Red Sea. The “King of 
Kings” of Axum readily agreed to do so; but the Persians had the 
upper hand in the Indian ports, and they would not allow themselves to 
be deprived of their profits. The peace therefore of 532 restored the 
transactions between the Empire and the Sassanid monarchy to their 
ordinary footing. 

However, thanks to the importation of raw silk, which became once 
more regular, the Syrian manufactures were flourishing. ‘The rupture 
with Persia in 540 brought about a grave crisis for them, and Justinian 
only made matters worse by the unwise measures which he took. In his 
excessive love of regulations he attempted to fix the price of raw silk, by 
a law which enforced a maximum price. He hoped thus to substitute a 
monopoly of the manufactures of the State for the ruined private industry. 
The Syrian industry was seriously injured by these measures. Luckily 
the cultivation of silk-worms did much to repair the disasters. ‘The eggs 
of the worms were brought into the Empire from the country of Serinda 
by two’ missionaries, between 552 and 554, he silk industry soon 
recovered when raw material could be obtained more cheaply, although 
Byzantium was not successful in freeing herself completely from Persia. 

On the whole, however, Byzantine commerce was flourishing. 
Alexandria was a splendid port, and grew rich by exporting corn, 

CH. II. 

42 Justinian’s Eaactions [ 535-565 

while her merchants travelled as far as the Indies. Syria found a 
market for her manufactures as far away as China. But above all, 
Constantinople, with her incomparable situation between Europe and 
Asia, was a wonderful mart, towards which, according to a contemporary, 
the ships of the world’s commerce sailed, freighted with expectation. 
Her numerous industrial societies, and the active commerce in silver 
carried on there with wealthy bankers, increased her riches still further ; 
and seeing the prosperity of his capital, Justinian was able, with his 
usual optimism, to congratulate himself on “having given another 
flower to the State by his splendid conceptions.” te 

But in spite of the Emperor’s good intentions, his administrative 
reform miscarried. From 535 until the end of the reign Justinian was 
constantly obliged to renew his ordinances, think out new measures and 
blame the zeal of his officials. In the great ordinance of 556 he was 
forced to repeat everything which he had laid down twenty years earlier. 
From the statements of the public documents themselves we learn that 
the peace continued to be disturbed, the officials continued to steal openly 
“in their shameful love of gain”; the soldiers continued to pillage, the 
financial administration was more oppressive than ever; while justice was 
slow, venal and corrupt, as it had been before the reform. 

More and more Justinian needed money. He needed it for his wars 
of conquest, for his buildings, for the maintenance of his imperial luxury, 
and for the expenses of his policy with regard to the barbarians. ‘Thus 
after having ordered that the subjects of the Empire should be treated 
leniently, and having declared that he would be content with the 
existing taxes, he was himself forced to create new dues, and to exact 
the returns with a merciless severity. Worse still, thanks to the 
financial distress against which he struggled, he was obliged to tolerate 
all the exactions of his officials. As long as money came to the treasury, 
no one troubled to enquire how it was obtained: and as it had been 
necessary to yield to the venality of the public offices, so the only course 
was to appear as blind to the dealings of the administration as to the 
sufferings of the subjects. Besides, a corrupt example was set in high 
quarters. John of Cappadocia, brutal and covetous as he was, speculating 
on everything, stealing from everyone, still maintained the Emperor's credit 
in awonderful way until 541 “by his constant labours to increase the public 
revenue.” Peter Barsymes who succeeded him in 543 was the prince’s 
chief favourite until 559, in spite of his shameless traffic in the magis- 
tracies, and his scandalous speculation in corn, simply because he was 
able, in some degree, to supply money for all Justinian’s needs. The 
provincial officials followed the lead of their chiefs, and even rivalled 
them in exactions and corruption, while the Emperor looked the other 
way. ‘The financial tyranny had reached such a pitch by this time that 
a contemporary tells us that “a foreign invasion seemed less formidable 
to the taxpayers than the arrival of the officials of the fisc.” The misery 

527—565 | The Church 43 

suffered was terrible enough to justify the sinister fact recorded by John 
Lydus, “The tax-gatherers could find no more money to take to the 
Emperor, because there were no people left to pay the taxes.” Justinian’s 
administrative system had woefully miscarried. 

In common with all the Emperors who had occupied the throne of 
the Caesars since the time of Constantine, Justinian gave much attention 
to the Church, as much for political reasons as because of his zeal for 
orthodoxy. His autocratic disposition was unable to realise that 
anything could be exempt from the prince’s inspection in a well- 
regulated monarchy. He claimed therefore to exercise his authority 
not only with regard to ecclesiastics—the greatest included—but 
further, when questions of discipline or dogma arose his word was never 
lacking. He wrote somewhere that “good order in the Church is the 
prop of the Empire.” He spared nothing which might lead to this good 
order. Both Justinian’s Code and the Novellae abound in laws dealing 
with the organisation of the clergy, the regulation of their moral life, 
the foundation and administration of religious houses, the government 
of ecclesiastical property and the control of the jurisdiction to which 
clerics were liable. During his whole reign Justinian claimed the right 
to appoint and dispossess bishops, to convoke and direct councils, to 
sanction their decisions, and to amend or abolish their canons. Since he 
enjoyed theological controversies, and had a real talent for conducting 
them, he was not deterred by pope, patriarchs and bishops, from setting 
himself up as a doctor of the Church, and as an interpreter of the 
Scriptures. In this capacity he drew up confessions of faith and hurled 
forth anathemas. 

In exchange for the mastery which he assumed over it, he extended 
his special protection to the Church. A crowd of religious buildings, 
churches, convents and hospitals sprang up in every part of the Empire, 
thanks to the Emperor’s generosity. Throughout the monarchy the 
bishops were encouraged to make use of the government’s authority and 
resources to spread their faith as well as to suppress heresy. Justinian 
believed that the first duty of a sovereign was “to keep the pure 
Christian faith inviolate, and to defend the Catholic and Apostolic 
Church from any harm.” He therefore employed the most severe 
measures against anyone who wished to injure or introduce changes into 
the unity of the Church. Religious intolerance was transformed into 
a public virtue. 

From the beginning of his reign Justinian promulgated the severest 
laws against heretics in 527 and 528. They were excluded from holding 
any public office, and from the liberal professions. ‘Their meetings were 
forbidden and their churches shut. They were even deprived of some of 
their civil rights, for the Emperor declared that it was only right that 
orthodox persons should have more privileges in society than heretics, 
for whom “to exist is sufficient.” The pagans, Hellenes as they 

CH. II. 

44 Justinian’s Religious Policy [527-565 

were called, were persecuted by the enforcement of these general rules ; 
Justinian endeavoured, above all things, to deprive them of education, 
and he had the University of Athens closed in 529: at the same time 
ordering wholesale conversions. ; 

Missions were frequently sent to the Monophysites of Asia by 
John, bishop of Ephesus, who called himself “the destroyer of idols 
and the hammer of the heathen” (542). Those sanctuaries which 
were not yet closed, that of Isis at Philae and that of Ammon in the 
oasis of Augila, were shut by force, and nothing remained of paganism 
but an amusement for a few men of leisure, or a form of political oppo- 
sition in the shape of secret societies. The Jews fared no better, and 
the Samaritan revolt in 529 made their position still worse. Other 
sects which refused to conform, Manichaeans, Montanists, Arians and 
Donatists, were persecuted in the same way. Religious intolerance 
accompanied the imperial restoration in the West. In Africa, as in 
Italy, Arians were spoiled for the benefit of Catholics, their churches 
were destroyed or ruined, and their lands confiscated. The Mono- 
physites alone profited by comparative toleration, because they engrossed 
more of Justinian’s attention, since they were stronger and more numerous 
than the others. 

Justinian had been thrown into the arms of Rome at the beginning 
of his reign, partly by the orthodox restoration effected by Justin, and 
partly by his own desire to maintain friendly relations with the Papacy ; 
a desire due to political interests as well as to religious zeal. Resounding 
confessions of faith testified to the purity of his belief and his profound 
respect for Rome, while his measures against heretics proved the sincerity 
of his zeal. Justinian spared nothing in his efforts to conciliate the 
Roman Church, and we find inserted with evident satisfaction in 
Justinian’s Code pontifical letters, which praise his efforts to maintain 
“the peace of the Church and the unity of religion,” and assert that 
“nothing is finer than faith in the bosom of a prince.” 

However, if concord with Rome was a necessary condition of the 
establishment and maintenance of the imperial domination in the West, 
the Monophysites had to be reckoned with in the East. In spite of the 
persecutions of Justin’s reign, they were still strong and numerous within 
the Empire. They were masters of Egypt, where the monks formed 
a fanatical and devoted army at the disposal of their patriarch. In 
Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Osrhoene and Armenia they held 
important posts, and found protectors even in the capital itself; and 
their furious opposition to the Council of Chalcedon and the Roman 
doctrines was the more dangerous since under the guise of religion they 
displayed those separatist tendencies, which had long been hostile 
towards Constantinople in both Egypt and Syria. Justinian had to 
choose between the horns of a dilemma, between the restoration of 
political and moral unity in the East by the sacrifice of peace with 

529-537 | Dealings with the Monophysites 45 

Rome—the course followed by Zeno and Anastasius, and advised by 
Theodora—and the maintenance of friendly relations with the West at 
the price of meeting the Eastern Monophysite opposition with force. 
Justin had pursued this policy and Justinian had carried it on. But 
now, placed as he was between the Pope and the Empress, he found 
a change of policy necessary. A middle course seemed fraught with 
least difficulty, so he tried to find a neutral position which would allow 
him to recede from the Council of Chalcedon sufficiently to satisfy 
the dissidents, and so, without sacrificing his orthodoxy, to extinguish 
an opposition which troubled the Emperor as much as the theologian. 
This was the fundamental idea underlying his religious policy, in spite 
of variations, hesitations and contradictions. ‘Theodora suggested it to 
him, and it would have proved a fruitful conception if time had been 
allowed the Empress to finish her work; in any case it was an idea 
worthy of an Emperor. 

From the time of his accession Justinian had busied himself in the 
attempt to find some common ground with the Monophysites. In 529 
or 530, on Theodora’s advice he recalled the fugitive.or proscribed monks 
from exile, as a pledge of his good intentions. He invited to Constan- 
tinople Severus, the ex-patriarch of Antioch, for whom the Empress 
professed a passionate admiration, to seek with him for a way which might 
lead to an agreement. In 533 he arranged a conference in the capital 
“to restore unity,” at which the heretics were to be treated with complete 
kindness and unalterable patience. Soon afterwards, in order to satisfy 
the Monophysites, he imposed on the orthodox clergy, after the theo- 
paschite quarrel, a declaration of faith that has rightly been called 
“a new Henotikon.” Further, he allowed the Monophysites complete 
liberty to spread their teaching, and not only in the capital but in the 
Sacred Palace itself heresy increased, thanks to the open protection of 
Theodora. When, in 535, the patriarchal throne became vacant, 
Epiphanius’ successor was Anthemius, bishop of Trebizond, a prelate 
secretly attached to the Monophysite cause. Under the influence of 
Severus, who was in the capital, and a guest at the palace, the new 
patriarch pursued the policy approved by the religious leaders of the 
East, that is the same that Zeno and Anastasius had followed; while 
Theodora actively helped, and the Emperor gave a tacit consent. 

But the orthodox position was restored by several events. In March 
536 the energetic pope Agapetus came to Constantinople and boldly 
deposed Anthemius ; the Council of Constantinople anathematised the 
heretics with no uncertain pronouncement soon after (May 536), while 
the apostolic legate Pelagius acquired in the following years consider- 
able influence over Justinian. ‘Towards the end of 537 persecution 
of the Monophysites broke out again: bonfires were lighted in Syria, 
Mesopotamia and Armenia, and it was boasted that heresy had been 
rooted out by severity and tortures. Even Egypt, the Monophysite 

CH. II. 

46 Jacob Baradaeus [527-550 

stronghold, was not spared. The patriarch Theodosius, | one of 
Theodora’s protégés, was torn from his see, driven into exile (538) 
and replaced by a prelate fitted to inspire respect for orthodoxy by 
means of terror. Egypt bent under his iron hand. Even the monks 
accepted the Council of Chalcedon ; and J ustinian and Pelagius flattered 
themselves that they had beaten down heresy (540). 

Although the Emperor returned to the Roman side in the dispute, . 
he had no intention of giving up for that reason the supreme authority 
which he considered his due, even over the Papacy. Silverius, successor 
of Agapetus, had made the great mistake of allowing himself to be 
elected by Gothic influence just when Theodora wanted her favourite, 
the deacon Vigilius, to be elevated to the pontifical throne. Belisarius 
accepted the uncongenial task of paying off imperial grudges towards 
the new pope. In March 537 Silverius was arrested, deposed, and sent 
into exile on an imaginary charge of treason. Vigilius was unanimously 
elected in his place under pressure from Byzantium (29 March 537). 

The Empress counted on her protégé to carry out her revenge for 
the repulse of 536. But once installed, Vigilius made delays, and in 
spite of Belisarius’ summons to carry out his promises, finally refused to 
accomplish any of the plans expected of him. At the same time, 
Monophysitism was spreading in the East in spite of the severity of the 
edicts of 541 and 544, Justinian had taken what he thought to be the 
wise measure of assembling the heretical leaders in Constantinople, where 
they would be in his power, and under the eye of the police. But 
Theodora soon procured a return to court favour for the exiles. The 
Emperor willingly made use of their enthusiastic zeal, and sent them to 
convert the pagans of Nubia (540), to struggle with those of Asia Minor 
(542) and to establish Christianity amongst the Arabs of Syria (543). 
Theodora did still more. Thanks to her efforts Jacob Baradaeus, who 
had been secretly consecrated bishop of Edessa (543), was able to continue 
the work of reorganising the Monophysite Church throughout the East. 
Active and indefatigable, in spite of the harshness of the enraged police 
who dogged his track, he was able to reconstruct the scattered com- 
munities in Asia, Syria and Egypt, to give them bishops and even 
a leader in the patriarch whom he ordained at Antioch in 550. It was 
owing to him that a new Monophysite Church was founded in a few 
years, which took the name of its great founder, and henceforth called 
itself Jacobite. 

This unexpected revival changed Justinian’s plans once more. Again 
his old dream of unity seemed to him to be more than ever necessary for 
the safety of the State as well as for the good of the Church. Thus, when 
Theodore Askidas, bishop of Caesarea, drew his attention, among the 
writings approved by the Council of Chalcedon, to those of the three 
men ‘Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, and Ibas of Edessa, 
as notoriously tainted with Nestorianism, he was easily persuaded that 

543-551 | Pope Vigilius 47 

to condemn the Three Chapters would be to create an easy and 
purhodox way to dissipate the Monophysite distrust of the Council 

renewed and purified.” And since Pelagius was no longer there to 
counterbalance Theodora’s influence, and as the heretics joyfully welcomed 
any scheme which injured the authority of Chalcedon, the Emperor 
pronounced the anathema against the Three Chapters by an edict 
of 543. 

It was still necessary to obtain the adhesion of the Papacy ; but this 
did not trouble the Emperor. It was essential to remove the pope from 
his Roman surroundings, which were hostile to the designs of the Greek 
theologians, and to put him in the Emperor’s power. Therefore Vigilius 
was carried off from Rome in the midst of a display of the troops 
(November 545) and transported under escort to Sicily, whence he 
travelled slowly towards Constantinople. He arrived at the beginning 
of 547, and soon yielded to the importunities of the basileus, the energetic 
summons of Theodora, and the subtle entreaties of the court theologians. 
He promised “to set their minds at rest” by condemning the Three 
Chapters, and he published his Judicatum on Easter Eve 548. This, 
while formally maintaining the authority of the Canons of Chalcedon, 
condemned no less clearly the persons and writings of the three guilty 
doctors. This was Theodora’s last triumph. When she died soon after 
(June 548) she could think that her highest hopes were realised, in the 
humiliation of the Apostolic See and the constant progress of the 
Monophysite Church. 

When the news of these events at Constantinople spread to the West, 
there was a general protest against Vigilius’ conduct in Africa, Dalmatia 
and Illyricum. Justinian was unmoved. By an imperial edict bearing 
the date of 551 he solemnly condemned the Three Chapters a second 
time, and set himself to overcome all opposition by the use of force. 
The most recalcitrant bishops in Africa were deposed, and the rest 
appeased by means of intrigues; and since Vigilius, alarmed at what he 
had done, insistently clamoured for an oecumenical council to settle the 
dispute, strong measures were taken against him. In the month of 
August 551 the church of St Peter in Hormisda, where he had taken 
refuge, was entered by a band of soldiers, who dragged the clerics 
composing the pontifical train from the sanctuary. Vigilius was clinging 
to the altar pillars; he was seized by the feet and the beard, and the 
ensuing struggle was so desperate that the altar was pulled over and fell, 
crushing the pope beneath it. At the sight of this dreadful occurrence 
the assembled crowd cried out in horror, and even the soldiers hesitated. 
The Praetor decided to beat a retreat; the plan had miscarried. But 
the pope was nothing more than the Emperor's prisoner. Surrounded 
by spies, fearing for his liberty, even for his life, Vigilius decided to flee. 
On a dark night (23 Dec. 551) he escaped from the Placidian Palace 
with a few faithful followers, and sought refuge in the church of 

CH. II. 

48 Pope Vigihus [553-555 

St Euphemia at Chalcedon, the same place where the Council had 
been held for which Vigilius was suffering martyrdom. 

Justinian was afraid that he had gone too far: and he resumed 
negotiations. Not without difficulty nor without another attempt to 
use force, he persuaded the pontiff to return to Constantinople, and 
brought forward the idea of a Council once more. After various hindrances 
this great assembly, known as the Fifth Oecumenical Council, opened 
(5 May 558) in the church of St Sophia. A few African prelates, 
chosen with great care, were the only representatives of the West; the 
pope refused to take part in the debates, in spite of all entreaties: and 
while the Council accomplished its task, obedient to the Emperor’s 
commands, he tried to make a pronouncement on the question in dispute 
on his own authority by the Constitutum of 14 May 553. While he 
completely abandoned the doctrines of Theodore of Mopsuestia, he 
refused to anathematise him, and shewed himself even more indulgent 
towards Ibas and Theodoret, saying that all Catholics should be contented 
with anything approved by the Council of Chalcedon. Unfortunately 
for Vigilius he had bound himself by frequent vows and by written and 
formal agreements to condemn the Three Chapters at Justinian’s wish. 
At the Emperor’s instigation the Council ignored the pontiff’s recanta- 
tion. To please the prince it even erased the name of Vigilius from the 
ecclesiastical diptychs; and then, the Three Chapters having been 
condemned in a long decree, the fathers separated, 2 June 553. 

Violence was again used to enforce the decisions of the Council. 
Particular severity was used towards those clerics who had supported 
Vigilius in his resistance. They were exiled or imprisoned, so that the 
pontiff, deserted and worn out, and fearing that a successor to him 
would be appointed in newly-conquered Rome, gave way to the 
Emperor’s wish and solemnly confirmed the condemnation of the Three 
Chapters by the Constitutwm of February 554. The West however still 
persisted in its opposition. The authorities flattered themselves on 
having reduced the recalcitrants by floggings, imprisonment, exile and 
depositions. They were successful in Africa and Dalmatia, but in Italy 
there was a party amongst the bishops, led by the metropolitans of Milan 
and Aquileia, who flatly refused to remain in fellowship with a pope who 
‘betrayed his trust” and “deserted the orthodox cause,” and in spite of 
the efforts of the civil authorities to reduce the opposition, the schism 
lasted for more than a century. 

The Papacy emerged from this long struggle cruelly humiliated. 
After Silverius, Vigilius had experienced in full measure the severity of 
the imperial absolutism. His successors, Pelagius (555) and John III 
(560), elected under pressure from Justinian’s officials, were nothing more 
than humble servants of the basileus, in spite of all their struggles. 
Their authority was discredited in the entire West by the affair of the 
Three Chapters, shaken in Italy by the schism, and still further lessened 

527—565 | General Results 49 

by the privileges that the imperial benevolence granted to the church of 
Ravenna, since that town was the capital of reconquered Italy. By 
paying this price, by cruelly wounding the Catholic West, and recalling 
the Monophysites, Justinian hoped until his dying day that he had 
obtained the results which were the aim of his religious policy, and had 
restored peace to the East. ‘“ Anxious,” wrote John of Ephesus, “ to 
carry out the wishes of his dead wife in every detail,” he increased the 
number of conferences and discussions after 548, in order to reconcile 
the Monophysites: while he had such a great wish to find some common 
ground with them that to satisfy them he slipped into heresy on the eve 
of his death. In an edict of 565 he declared his adherence to the 
doctrine of the Incorrupticolae, the most extreme of all the heretics, and 
as usual he used force against the prelates who made any resistance. 
Thus until the end of his life Justinian had consistently endeavoured to 
impose his will upon the Church, and to break down all opposition. 
Until the end of his life also he had sought to realise the ideal of unity 
which inspired and dominated the whole of his religious policy. But 
nothing came of his efforts; the Monophysites were never satisfied with 
the concessions made to them, and upon the whole this great theological 
undertaking, this display of rigour and arbitrariness, produced no results 
at all or results of a deplorable nature. 


It remains to be seen what were the consequences of Justinian’s 
government in the East, and what price he paid, specially during the last 
years of his reign, for this policy of great aims and mediocre or unskilful 

A secret defect existed in all Justinian’s undertakings, which destroyed 
the sovereign’s most magnificent projects, and ruined his best intentions. 
This was the disproportion between the end in view and the financial 
resources available to realise it. Enormous, in fact inexhaustible 
supplies were needed, for the drain on them was immense ; to satisfy the 
needs of a truly imperial policy, to meet the cost of wars of conquest, to 
pay the troops, and for the construction of fortresses; to maintain the 
luxury of the Court and the expense of buildings, to support a com- 
plicated administration and to dispense large subsidies to the barbarians. 
When he ascended the throne Justinian had found in the treasury the 
sum of 320,000 pounds of gold, more than £14,400,000 sterling, which 
had been accumulated by the prudent economy of Anastasius. This 
reserve fund was exhausted in a few years, and henceforth for the rest of 
his long reign, the Emperor suffered from the worst of miseries, the lack 
of money. Without money the wars which had been entered upon 
with insufficient means dragged on interminably. Without money the 

C. MED. H. VOL. Il. CH. II. 4 

50 Justinian’s last years [548-565 

unpaid army became disorganised and weak. Without money to main- 
tain an effective force and provision the posts, the badly defended frontier 
gave way under the assault of the barbarians, and, to get rid of them, 
recourse was had to a ruinous diplomacy, which did not even protect the 
Empire against invasions. Without money the attempted administrative 
reform had to be abandoned, and the vices of an openly corrupt adminis- 
tration to be condoned. Without money the government was driven to 
strange expedients, often most unsuitable to its economic as to its 
financial policy. To meet expenses the burden of taxation was increased 
until it became almost intolerable; and as time passed, and the dis- 
proportion between the colossal aims of the imperial ambition and the 
condition of the financial resources of the monarchy became greater, the 
difficulty of overcoming the deficit led to even harsher measures. ‘The 
State,” wrote Justinian in 552, “greatly enlarged by the divine mercy 
and led by this increase to make war on her barbaric neighbours, has 
never been in greater need of money than to-day.” Justinian exercised 
all his ingenuity to find this money at any sacrifice, but in spite of real 
economies—amongst others the suppression of the consulship (541)—by 
which he tried to restore some proportion to the Empire’s budget, the 
Emperor could never decide to curtail his luxury, or his building opera- 
tions, while the money which had been collected with such difficulty was 
too often squandered to please favourites or upon whims. Therefore 
a terrible financial tyranny was established in the provinces, which 
effected the ruin of the West already overwhelmed by war, of the Balkan 
peninsula ravaged by barbarians, and of Asia fleeced by Chosroes. ‘The 
time came when it was impossible to drag anything from these exhausted 
countries, and seeing the general misery, the growing discontent and 
the suspicions which increased every day, contemporaries asked, with 
a terrified stupor, “ whither the wealth of Rome had vanished.” Thus 
the end of the reign was strangely sad. 

The death of Theodora (June 548), while it deprived the Emperor 
of a vigorous and faithful counsellor, dealt Justinian a blow from which 
he never recovered. Henceforth, as his age increased—he was 65 then— 
the defects of his character only became more prominent. His irresolu- 
tion was more noticeable, while his theological mania was inflamed. He 
disregarded military matters, finding the direction of the wars which he 
had so dearly loved tiresome and useless; he cared more for the exercise 
of a diplomacy, often pitifully inadequate, than for the prestige of arms. 
Above all, he carried on everything with an ever-increasing carelessness. 
Leaving the trouble of finding money at any cost to his ministers, to 
Peter Barsymes the successor of John of Cappadocia, and to the quaestor 
Constantine, the successor of ‘Tribonian, he gave himself up to religious 
quarrels, passing his nights in disputations with his bishops. As 
Corippus, a man not noted for severity towards princes, wrote “The 
old man no longer cared for anything; his spirit was in heaven.” 

551-565 | Death of Justinian 51 

Under these circumstances, everything was lost. The effective force 
of the army, which ought to have numbered 645,000 men, was reduced 
to 150,000 at the most in 555. No garrisons defended the ramparts of 
the dilapidated fortresses, “ Even the barking of a watch-dog was not 
to be heard” wrote Agathias, somewhat brutally. Even the capital, 
inadequately protected by the wall of Anastasius, which was breached 
in a thousand places, only had a few regiments of the palatine guard— 
soldiers of no military worth—to defend it, and was at the mercy of 
a sudden attack. Added to this, successive invasions took place in 
Illyricum and Thrace ; the Huns only just failed to take Constantinople 
in 558, while in 562 the Avars insolently demanded land and money 
from the Emperor. 

Then there was the misery of earthquakes, in 551 in Palestine, 
Phoenicia and Mesopotamia, in 554 and 557 at Constantinople. It 
was in 556 that the scourge of famine came, and in 558 the plague, 
which desolated the capital during six months. Above all there was 
the increasing misery caused by the fimancial tyranny. During the last 
years of the reign the only supplies came from such expedients as the 
debasement of the coinage, forced loans and confiscations. The Blues 
and Greens again filled Byzantium with disturbances: in 553, 556, 559, 
560, 561, 562 and 564 there were tumults in the streets, and incendiarism 
in the town. In the palace the indecision as to a successor led to 
continual intrigues: already the nephews of the basileus quarrelled 
over their heritage. There was even a conspiracy against the Emperor’s 
life, and on this occasion Justinian’s distrust caused the disgrace of 
Belisarius once more for a few weeks (562). 

Thus when the Emperor died (November 565) at the age of 83 
years, relief was felt throughout the Empire. In ending this account 
of Justinian’s reign the grave Evagrius wrote, “Thus died this prince, 
after having filled the whole world with noise and troubles: and having 
since the end of his life received the wages of his misdeeds, he has gone 
to seek the justice which was his due before the judgment-seat of hell.” 
He certainly left a formidable heritage to his successors, perils menacing 
all the frontiers, an exhausted Empire, in which the public authority 
was weakened in the provinces by the development of the great feudal 
estates, in the capital by the growth of a turbulent proletariat, susceptible 
to every panic and ready for every sedition. ‘The monarchy had no 
strength with which to meet all these dangers. Ina novel of J ustin II 
promulgated the day after Justinian’s death we read the following, word 
for word— We found the treasury crushed by debts and reduced to 
the last dégree of poverty, and the army so completely deprived of all 
necessaries that the State was exposed to the incessant invasions and 
insults of the barbarians.” Mrs tie 

It would, however, be unjust to judge the whole of Justinian’s reign 
by the years of his decadence. Indeed, though every part of the work 

CH. II. 4—2 

52 Services of Justinian 

of the Byzantine Caesar is not equally worthy of praise it must not be 
forgotten that his intentions were generally good, and worthy of an 
Emperor. There is an undeniable grandeur in his wish to restore the 
Roman traditions in every branch of the government, to reconquer the 
lost provinces, and to recover the imperial suzerainty over the whole 
barbarian world. In his wish to efface the last trace of religious quarrels 
he shewed a pure feeling for the most vital interests of the monarchy. 
In the care which Justinian took to cover the frontiers with a continuous 
network of fortresses, there was a real wish to assure the security of his 
subjects; and this solicitude for the public good was shewn still more 
clearly in the efforts which he made to reform the administration of the 
State. Furthermore, it was not through vanity alone, or because of 
a puerile wish to attach his name to a work great enough to dazzle 
posterity, that Justinian undertook the legal reformation, or covered 
the capital and Empire with sumptuous buildings. In his attempt 
to simplify the law, and to make justice more rapid and certain, he 
undoubtedly had the intention of improving the condition of his 
subjects: and even in the impetus given to public works we can 
recognise a love of greatness, regrettable in its effects perhaps, but 
commendable all the same because of the thought which inspired it. 

Certainly the execution of these projects often compared unfavourably 
with the grandiose conceptions which illuminated the dawn of Justinian’s 
reign. But however hard upon the West the imperial restoration may 
have been, however useless the conquest of Africa and Italy may have 
been to the East, Justinian none the less gave the monarchy an 
unequalled prestige for the time being, and filled his contemporaries 
with admiration or terror. Whatever may have been the faults of his 
diplomacy, none the less by that adroit and supple combination of 
political negotiations and religious propaganda he laid down for his 
successors a line of conduct which gave force and duration to Byzantium 
during several centuries. And if his successes were dearly bought by 
the sufferings of the East and the widespread ruin caused by a despotic 
and cruel government, his reign has left an indelible mark in the history 
of civilisation. 'The Code and St Sophia assure eternity to the memory 
of Justinian. 



Roman Law is not merely the law of an Italian Community which 
existed two thousand years ago, nor even the law of the Roman Empire. 
It Was, with more or less modification from local customs and ecclesi- 
astical authority, the only system of law throughout the Middle Ages, and 
was the foundation of the modern law of nearly all Europe. In our own 
island it became the foundation of the law of Scotland, and, besides 
general influence, supplied the framework of parts of the law of England, 
especially of marriage, wills, legacies and intestate succession to 
personalty. Through their original connexion with the Dutch, it forms 
a main portion of the law of South Africa, Ceylon and Guiana, and it 
has had considerable influence in the old French province of Louisiana. 
Its intrinsic merit is difficult to estimate, when there is no comparable 
system independent of its influence. But this may fairly be said: 
Roman Law was the product of many generations of a people trained 
to government and endowed with cultivated and practical intelligence. 
The area of its application became so wide and varied that local customs 
and peculiarities gradually dropped away, and it became law adapted 
not to one tribe or nation but to man generally. Moreover singular 
good fortune befell it at a critical time. When civilisation was in peril 
through the influx of savage nations, and an elaborate and complicated 
system of law might easily have sunk into oblivion, a reformer was found 
who by skilful and conservative measures stripped the law of much 
antiquated complexity, and made it capable of continued life and general 
use without any breach of its connexion with the past. 

Sir Henry Maine has drawn attention to its influence as a system of 
reasoned thought on other subjects: “To Politics, to Moral Philosophy, 
to Theology it contributed modes of thought, courses of reasoning and a 
technical language. In the Western provinces of the Empire it supplied 
the only means of exactness of speech, and still more emphatically, the 
only means of exactness, subtlety and depth in thought.” 

Gibbon in his 44th Chapter has employed all his wit and wealth of 
allusion to give some interest to his brief history of Roman jurisprudence 
and to season for the lay palate the dry morsels of Roman Law. ‘The 
present chapter makes no such pretension. It is confined to a notice of 


54 Sources of Law 

the antecedents and plan of Justinian’s legislation, and a summary of 
those parts of it which are most connected with the general society of 
the period or afford some interest to an English reader from their 
resemblance or contrast to our own law. Unfortunately a concise and 
eclectic treatment cannot preserve much, if anything, of the logic and 
subtlety of a system of practical thought. 

The sources of law under the early Emperors were Statutes (Jeges), 
rare after Tiberius; Senate’s decrees (senatus consulta), which proposed 
by the Emperor took the place of Statutes ; Edicts under the Emperor’s 
own name ; Decrees, i.e. his final decisions as judge on appeal ; Mandata, 
instructions to provincial governors ; Rescripta, answers on points of law 
submitted to him by judges or private persons; the praetor’s edict as revised 
and consolidated by the lawyer Salvius Julianus at Hadrian’s command 
and confirmed by a Senate’s decree (this is generally called The Edict) ; 
and finally treatises on the various branches of law, which were composed, 
at any rate chiefly, by jurists authoritatively recognised, and which 
embodied the Common Law and practice of the Courts. By the middle 
of the third century a.p. the succession of great jurists came to an end, 
and, though their books, or rather the books written by the later of them, 
still continued in high practical authority, the only living source of law 
was the Emperor, whose utterances on law, in whatever shape whether 
oral or written, were called constitutiones. If written, they were by Leo’s 
enactment (470) to bear the imperial autograph in purple ink. 

Diocletian, who reformed the administration of the law as well as the 
general government of the Empire, issued many rescripts, some at least 
of which are preserved to us in Justinian’s Codex, but few rescripts of 
later date are found. Thereafter new general law was made only by 
imperial edict, and the Emperor was the sole authoritative interpreter. 
Anyone attempting to obtain a rescript dispensing with Statute Law 
was (384) to be heavily fined and disgraced. 

The imperial edicts were in epistolary form, and were published by 
being hung up in Rome and Constantinople and the larger provincial 
towns, and otherwise made known in their districts by the officers to 
whom they were addressed. There does not appear to have been any 
collection of Constitutions, issued to the public, until the Codex 
Gregorianus was made in the eastern part of the Empire. (Codex 
refers to the book-form as opposed to a roll.) This collection was the 
work probably of a man named Gregorius, about the end of the third 
century. In the course of the next century a supplement was made 
also in the Eastern Empire and called Codex Hermogenianus, probably 
the work of a man of that name. Both contained chiefly rescripts. 
A comparatively small part of both has survived in the later codes and 
in some imperfectly preserved legal compilations. During the fourth 
century, perhaps—as Mommsen thinks—in Constantine’s time, but with 
later additions, a compilation was made in the West, of which we 

Reform of Law by Theodosius II 55 

have fragments preserved in the Vatican Library. They contained both 
branches of law, extracts from the jurists Ulpian, Paul and Papinian, as 
well as Constitutions of the Emperors. 

At length the need of an authoritative statement of laws in force 
was so strongly felt that the matter was taken up by government. 
Theodosius II, son of the Emperor Arcadius, having previously taken 
steps to organise public teaching in Constantinople, determined to meet 
the uncertainties of the law courts by giving imperial authority to 
certain text writers and by a new collection of the Statute Law. The 
books of the great lawyers, Papinian, Paul and Ulpian and of a pupil of 
Ulpian, Modestinus, were well known and in general use. Another lawyer 
rather earlier than these, of whom we really know nothing, except his 
name (and that is only a praenomen), Gaius, had written in the time of 
Marcus Antoninus in very clear style a manual, besides other works of a 
more advanced character. The excellence of this manual brought it into 
general use and secured for its author imperial recognition on a level with 
the lawyers first named. Another work in great general use was a brief 
summary of the law by Paul known under the name of Pauli Sententiae. 
All these lawyers were in the habit of citing the opinions of earlier lawyers 
and often inserting extracts from them in their own works. Theodosius 
(with Valentinian, then seven years old) in a.p. 426 addressed to the Senate 
of Rome an important and comprehensive Constitution, intended to 
put what may be called the Common Law of Rome on a surer footing. 
He confirmed all the writings of Papinian, Paul, Gaius, Ulpian and 
Modestinus, and added to them all the writers whose discussions and 
opinions were quoted by these lawyers, mentioning particularly Scaevola, 
Sabinus, Julian and Marcellus. The books of the five lawyers first named 
were no doubt in the hands of judges and advocates generally, but the 
books of the others would be comparatively rare, and a quotation from 
them would be open to considerable doubt. It might contain a wrong 
reading or an interpolation or even a forgery. Theodosius therefore 
directed that these older books should be admitted as authorities, only so 
far as they were confirmed by a comparison with manuscripts other than 
that produced by the advocate or other person alleging their authority. 

But Theodosius went further. If the writers thus authoritatively 
recognised were found to differ in opinion, the judge was directed to 
follow the opinion of the majority, and if the numbers on each side were 
equal, to follow the side on which Papinian stood and disregard any notes 
of Paul or Ulpian contesting Papinian’s opinion, but Paul’s Sententiae were 
always to count. If Papinian’s opinion was not there to decide between 
equal numbers of authorities, the judge must use his own discretion. 

The great portion of law which had been set forth in text-books as 
reasonable and conformable to precedent and statute having thus been 
sanctioned, and rules given for its application, Theodosius turned his 
attention to the Statute Law itself. The jurists had in their various 

CH. Il. 

56 Theodosian Code 

treatises taken account of the pertinent rescripts, edicts, etc., already 
issued and it was therefore only from the time when the series of authori- 
tative jurists ended that the imperial constitutions required collecting. 
The books of Gregorius and Hermogenianus (Codices Greg. et Herm.) 
contained those issued down to Constantine’s time, which was therefore 
taken as the starting-point for the additional collection. Theodosius in 
429 appointed a Commission of eight, and in 435 another larger Com- 
mission of which Antiochus the praefect was named first with other 
officials and ex-officials of the Record and Chancellery departments and 
Apelles, a law professor, power being given to call other learned men to 
their aid. He instructed them, following the precedent of Gregory and 
Hermogenianus’ books, to collect all the imperial Constitutions issued 
by Constantine and his successors which were either in the form of edicts 
or at least of general application, to arrange them in the order of time 
under the known heads of law, breaking up for this purpose laws dealing 
with several subjects, and while preserving the enacting words to omit 
all unnecessary preambles and declarations. When this is done and 
approved they are to proceed to review Gregory, Hermogenianus and this 
third book, and with the aid of the pertinent parts of the jurists’ writings 
on each head of law to omit what was obsolete, remove all errors and 
ambiguities, and thus make a book which should “ bear the name of the 
Emperor Theodosius and teach what should be followed and what 
avoided in life.” 

The Theodosian code, technically called, as Mommsen thinks, simply 
Theodosianus, was published in Constantinople 15 February 438 and 
transmitted to Rome at the end of the year. The consul at Rome 
holding the authentic copy in his hands, in the presence of the imperial 
commissioners, read to the Senate the order for its compilation, which 
was received with acclamation. We have an account of this proceeding 
with a record of the enthusiastic shouts of the senators and the number 
of times each was repeated, some 24 or 28 times. Exclusive authority 
was given to the code in all court-pleadings and court-documents from 
1 January 439, the Emperor boasting that the code would banish a cloud 
of dusty volumes and disperse the legal darkness which drove people to 
consult lawyers ; for the code would make clear the conditions of a valid 
gift, the way to sue out an inheritance, the frame of a stipulation and 
the mode of recovering a debt whether certain or uncertain in amount. 

With the knowledge which we possess of the Vatican Fragments and 
the Digest and Code of Justinian, we might expect from the above 
description that the Theodosian Code would contain a selection from the 
Juristic writings as well as the constitutions of a general character 
arranged under the several titles or heads of law. But the Code, which 
has in a large part (about two-thirds of Books i-v being lost) come 
down to us, contains no extracts from the jurists and no constitution 
earlier than Constantine. So that the exclusive authority which the 

Burgundian Code 57 

Emperor gave to his code can only be understood to relate to constitu- 
tions since Constantine, and he must have relied on the Gregorian and 
Hermogenian Codes for earlier constitutions still in force, and on the 
text-books of the lawyers, approved by his constitution of 426, for 
supplying the requisite details of practical law. 

The Code of Theodosius was divided into sixteen books, each book 
having a number of titles and each title usually containing a number of 
constitutions or fragments of such. The order of subjects is similar to 
that of Justinian’s Code with some exceptions. Private law is treated 
in Books ii-v, military matters in vii, crime in ix, revenue law in 
x and xi, municipal law in xii, official duties in i, and xiii-xv, and 
ecclesiastical matters in xvi. The names of the Emperors at the time 
of enactment and the date and the place either of framing or of publi- 
cation were given with each constitution though they are not wholly 
preserved. Compared with Justinian’s Code it contains a much larger 
proportion of administrative law and a much smaller proportion of 
ordinary private law. The Code remained in force in the East and in 
Italy until Justinian superseded it, though the traces of its use are few. 
In the West, in Spain, France and Lombard Italy, it remained in 
practical use for long, chiefly as part of the Code issued to the Visigoths 
by Alaric II in 506. 

A number of constitutions issued by Theodosius and his successors 
after the Code and therefore called Novellae (i.e., leges), ‘new laws,” have 
come down to us—84 in number, the latest of which bearing the names 
of Leo and Anthemius was issued in 468. Of further legislation by 
Roman Emperors until Justinian we have only what he chose to retain 
in his Code. 

After the Theodosian Code and before Justinian there were compiled 
and issued codes of laws for the Romans in Burgundy, for the Ostrogoth 
subjects in Italy, and for the Romans in the Visigothic kingdom in South 
France and in Spain; and we have evidence of other laws prevailing in 
the Eastern part of the Empire, before and after Justinian’s time. 

In Burgundy about the beginning of the sixth century King 
Gundobad issued a short code of laws for all his subjects whether 
Burgundian or Roman. A few subsequent constitutions by him or his 
successors have been appended to it. Somewhat later he issued a code 
for his Roman subjects, when suits lay between them only. This code 
is about half the length of the other but many of the headings of the 
chapters are the same. The matter is principally torts and crimes (¢.g., 
cattle-lifting), runaway slaves, succession, gifts, marriage, guardianship, 
process and some brief rules on other parts of the law. It appears to 
have been taken from the same sources as the Lea Visigothorum and the 
particular source is frequently named. But instead of simply repeating 
selected words of the source, it is rather an attempt at real codification. 
(The name Papianus often given to it arises probably from this Code 

CH. Ill. 

58 Codes for Ostrogoths and Visigoths 

having followed in the MSS. the Lex Visegothorum and the extract from 
Papinian which closes that having been taken as the commencement of 
this. Papianus is a frequent mistake for Papinianus.) 

For the kingdom of the Ostrogoths in Italy a code of laws was 
issued by Theodoric about a.p. 500. It is usually called Edictum 
Theodorici. The code is nearly the same length as the Ler Romana 
Burgundiorum and much resembles it in character and sources, but does 
not name them. The contents are torts and crimes, especially attacks 
on landed possessions and cattle-lifting, successions, marriage, serfs, 
conduct of judges, process, etc. The first editor, Pithou, had two MSS. 
in 1578, but these have completely disappeared. 

The Lex Romana Visigothorum is much more important than either 
of the above. It is a compilation promulgated by Alaric II for Roman 
citizens in Spain and part of Gaul in the twenty-second year of his 
reign, 2¢., 4.D. 506. He states in an accompanying letter to Count 
Timotheus that it was compiled by skilled lawyers (prudentes) with the 
approval of bishops and nobles, to remove the obscurity and ambiguity 
of the laws and make a selection in one book which should be solely 
authoritative. No power of amending the law appears to have been given. 

It contains a large number of constitutions from the Theodosian 
Code, omitting especially those which relate to administration rather 
than general law. Consequently there are few taken from Books vi, vii, 
xi-xiv. Some post-Theodosian Novels follow; then an abridgment of 
Gaius’ Institutes, a good deal of Paul’s Sententiae, a few extracts from 
the Gregorian and Hermogenian Codes and one extract from Papinian. 
A short interpretation is appended to all of these, except to Gaius and 
to most of Paul’s Sentences, where interpretation is stated not to be 
required. The author and age of the interpretation are quite unknown. 
It sometimes gives a restatement of the text in other words, sometimes 
adds explanations. The selection of matters for the code shews the 
intention of giving both Statute and Common Law. The code was no 
longer authoritative law after Chindaswinth (642-653), but it was used in 
the schools and assisted largely in preserving Roman Law in the south 
and east of France till the twelfth century; and a tradition that it 
received confirmation from Charlemagne is possibly true. Our knowledge 
of Books ii—v of the Theodosian Code and of most of Paul’s Sentences is 
due to this compilation, which in modern times has received the name of 
Breviarium Alarici. 

In the lands on the eastern part of the Mediterranean—Syria, 
Mesopotamia, Persia, Arabia, Egypt and Armenia—a collection of laws, 
evidently translated from Greek, was used under the name of “ Laws of 
Constantine, Theodosius and Leo,” probably composed at the end of the 
fourth century and enlarged in the fifth, perhaps with later alterations 
from the Justinian laws. Versions of it in Arabic, Armenian and 
several in Syriac, differing in some degree from one another, have been 

Syrian Code. Justinian’s Reform 59 

lately published. The chief portion relates to family law, marriage, 
dowry, guardianship, slaves and inheritance, but obligations and pro- 
cedure are also included. It is supposed to have been compiled for 
practical use in suits before the bishops and minor ecclesiastics. 
Differences between the law prevailing in the East and that in the West 
are sometimes mentioned, ¢.¢., that in the former the husband’s marriage 
gift was only half the value of the wife’s dowry. Other differences from 
the regular Roman Law of the time are the requirement of a written 
contract for marriage, the recognition of the possession (as in the Gospels) 
of wives and slaves by demons, punishment of a receiver of others’ slaves 
or serfs by making him a slave or serf, prescription of 30 years for suits 
for debts, prohibition of purchase by creditor from debtor until the debt 
is paid, allowance of marriage with wife’s sister or brother’s widow if 
dispensation be obtained from the king, many peculiarities in intestate 
inheritance, privileges and endowments for the clergy, etc. 

Justinian succeeded his uncle Justin in 527 and at once took up the 
task partially performed by Theodosius, and succeeded in completing it 
in a more thorough manner than might have been expected from the 
speed with which it was done. In 528 he appointed a commission of 
ten, eight being high officials and two practising lawyers, with 
instructions to put together the imperial constitutions contained in the 
books of Gregorius, Hermogenianus and Theodosius, and constitutions 
issued subsequently, to strike out or change what was obsolete or unneces- 
sary or contradictory, and to arrange the constitutions retained and 
amended under suitable heads in order of time, so as to make one book, 
to be called by the Emperor’s name, Codex Justinianus. The book 
compiled by the commission was sanctioned by the Emperor in 529, and 
it was ordered that no constitution should be quoted in the law courts 
except those contained in this book, and that no other wording should 
be recognised than as given there. 

The next step was to deal with the mass of text-books and other 
legal literature, so far as it had been recognised by the courts and by 
the custom of old and new Rome. In 530 Tribonian, one of the 
members of the former commission for the code, was directed to choose 
the most suitable professors and practising lawyers, and with their aid 
in the imperial palace under his own superintendence to digest the mass 
of law outside the constitution into one whole, divided into fifty books 
and subordinate titles. All the authors were to be regarded as of equal 
rank: full power was given to strike out and amend as in the case of 
the constitutions : the text given in this book was to be the only authori- 
tative one: it was to be written without any abbreviations; and, while 
translation into Greek was allowed, no one was to write commentaries on 
it. ‘This work, never attempted before and truly described by Justinian 
as enormously difficult, was ‘‘ with the divine assistance ” completed in 


60 Justinian’s Digest 

three years, Tribonian calculating that he had reduced nearly 2000 
rolls containing more than 3,000,000 lines into a Codex of about 
150,000 lines. Justinian called this book Digesta or Pandectae and 
directed that it should take effect as law from 3 December 533. Its 
somewhat irrational distribution into seven parts and fifty books was 
probably due to a superstitious regard to the mysterious efficacy of 
certain numbers. ‘The really important division is into titles, of which 
there are 432. 

From reverence to the old lawyers, he directed that the name of the 
writer and work from which an extract was taken should be placed at 
the commencement of it, and he had a list of the works used placed 
before the Digest. This list requires some correction. ‘There were 
used between 200 and 300 treatises of about 40 authors, some of the 
treatises being very voluminous, so that over 1600 rolls were put 
under contribution. Over 95 per cent. of the Digest was from books 
written between the reigns of Trajan and Alexander Severus. ‘Two 
works by Ulpian supply about one-third of the Digest: sixteen works 
by eight authors form nearly two-thirds: twice this number of books 
supply four-fifths. From some treatises only a single extract was taken. 
Tribonian’s large library supplied many books not known even to the 
learned. Many were read through without anything suitable for 
extraction being found. 

The plan which Tribonian devised appears to have been to divide 
the commission into three parts and give each committee an appropriate 
share of the books to be examined. Ulpian’s and Paul’s Commentaries 
and other comprehensive works were taken as the fullest exposition of 
current law and made the foundation. ‘They were compared with one 
another and with other treatises of the same subject-matter; antiquated 
Jaw and expressions were cut out or altered, contradictions removed, 
and the appropriate passages extracted and arranged under the titles to 
which they severally belonged. The titles were, as Justinian directed, 
mainly such as appeared in the Praetor’s Edict or in his own code. The 
extracts made by the committee which had furnished the most matter for 
the title were put first, and the others followed, with little or no attempt 
to form an orderly exposition of the subject. What connexion of thought 
between the extracts is found comes mainly from the treatise taken as 
the foundation. There is no attempt at fusing the matter of text-books 
and giving a scientific result, nor even of making a thorough and skilful 
mosaic of the pieces extracted. The work under each title is simply the 
result of taking strings of extracts from the selected treatises, arranging 
them partly in one line and partly in parallel lines, and then as it were 
squeezing them together so as to leave only what is practical, with no 
more repetition than is requisite for clearness. 'This process done by 
each committee would be to some extent repeated when the contributions 
of the three committees came to be combined. For special reasons 

Revised Code. Institutes 61 

occasionally this or that extract might be moved to some other place, 
Sometimes to form an apt commencement for the title, in one case 
(Book xx, title 1) by way of honour to Papinian. 

Justinian’s work was thus not a codification, as we understand the 
word, but a consolidation of the law, both of the jus and the leges, as it 
may be called, of the Common and the Statute Law. It was consolida- 
tion combined with amendment. The removal of obsolete law and of 
consequent reference led necessarily to innumerable corrections both of 
substance and of wording. Whatever criticism this mode of solving the 
problem may justly receive, it had two great merits. It gave the Roman 
world within a short time a practical statement of the law in use, cleared 
of what was obsolete and disputable, full in detail, terse in expression, 
familiar in language and of unquestionable and exclusive authority. 
And it has preserved for the civilised world in all ages a large 
amount of the jurisprudence of the best trained Roman lawyers of the 
best age, which but for Tribonian would in all probability have been 
wholly lost. 

But Tribonian was not satisfied with this achievement. In preparing 
the Digest it was found desirable formally to repeal parts of the old law, 
and for this purpose fifty constitutions were issued. On this and other 
accounts Justinian directed him with the aid of Dorotheus, a professor 
at Berytus, and of three eminent lawyers in the Courts at Constantinople 
to take the Code in hand, to insert the new matter, to omit what were 
repetitions, and thoroughly to revise the whole. This second or revised 
Code is what we have. It took effect from 29 December 534. The 
earliest constitution in it is one of Hadrian’s and there are few before 
Severus, the jurists’ writings having embodied earlier ones so far as they 
were of general and permanent application. Many rescripts of Diocletian 
are given, but none of subsequent Emperors. Many constitutions are 
much abridged or altered from the form in which they appear in the 
Theodosian Code, which itself contained often only an abridgment of 
the originals. 

A manual for students (the Institutes) founded largely on Gaius’ 
Institutes (which have come down to us in a palimpsest luckily discovered 
at Verona by Niebuhr in 1816) was also sanctioned by Justinian, and took 
effect as law from the same day as the Digest. An authoritative course 
of study was ordained at the same time, and law schools were sanctioned, 
but only in Constantinople, Rome and Berytus, those existing in 
Alexandria, Caesarea and elsewhere being suppressed, under the penalty 
for any teacher of a fine of 10 Ibs. gold and banishment from the town. 

Justinian did not end here his legislative activity, but issued from 
time to time, as cases brought before him or other circumstances 
suggested, new constitutions for the amendment of the law or regulation 
of the imperial or local administration. Of these 174 are still extant, 
about half relating to administration and half to private law and 

cH, IH. 

62 Justinian’s Novellae. Slaves 

procedure. About forty deal with the law of the family and of succession 
to property on death. Some are careful consolidations of the law on 
one subject, some are of miscellaneous content. These constitutions 
with a few issued by his near successors are called Novellae, and as being 
the latest legislation supersede or amend some parts of the Digest, Code 
and Institutes, which with them form the Corpus Juris’ as received by 
European nations. Almost all are written in Greek, whereas very little 
Greek occurs in the Digest (chiefly in extracts from the third-century 
lawyer, Modestinus) and not much relatively in the Code. An old Latin 
Version of many of the Novels, probably prepared in Justinian’s lifetime, 
is often quoted by old lawyers under the name of Authenticum. It isa 
significant fact that only eighteen of the Novels, and those almost 
wholly administrative, are dated after the year of Tribonian’s death (546), 
though Justinian survived him nearly twenty years. One may be sure 
that it was Tribonian who suggested and organised this great reform of 
the law, though no doubt it owed much also to the good sense and 
persistence of the Emperor. 

It would not be practicable to give anything like an adequate 
summary of Justinian’s law books within the limits which can be 
assigned to it in a general history. His own Institutes contain an 
authoritative and readable account, which however on some matters, 
especially marriage and inheritance, requires correction from the Novels. 
But summary information may be given here on such topics as the 
position of slaves, freedmen and serfs; of the power of the head of a 
family ; of marriage, divorce, and succession to property; of some 
leading principles of contract, of criminal law and of procedure. 

In Rome the household comprised staves as well as free men, and 
slaves gave occasion to a great deal of legal subtlety. Theoretically 
they were only live chattels, without property or legal rights, absolutely 
at the disposal of their owner, who had full power of life and death over 
them. But at all periods, more or less largely, theory was modified in 
practice, partly by natural feeling towards members of the same house- 
hold, partly by public opinion. Antoninus Pius, either from policy or 
philosophic pity, so far interfered between master and slave as to make 
it a criminal offence for a master to kill his own slave without cause, and 
he required one who treated his slave with intolerable cruelty to sell him 
on fair terms. Constantine (319) went still further and directed any 
master who intentionally killed his slave with a club or stone or weapon 
or threw him to wild beasts or poisoned or burnt him to death to be 
charged with homicide. But discipline was not to suffer, and therefore 

7 On a rough estimate the Corpus Juris would fill about four such volumes (of 
800 pages) as this History: and of the four the Digest would fill more than 
half. It is the Digest that comes nearest to the popular notion of Justinian’s 

Slaves. Freedmen 63 

by another law (326) chaining or beating in the ordinary way of correc- 
tion for offences, even if the slave died of it, was not to justify any 
inquiry into the master’s intentions or to found any charge against him. 
Justinian in his Code reproduced only the former constitution, and 
retained in the Digest the duty imposed on the city praefect and 
provincial governors of hearing the complaints of slaves who had fled 
from cruelty, starvation or indecency, to the refuge of the Emperor's 
statues. ‘To give such protection, said Antoninus (152), was required by 
the interests of masters, whose full command over their slaves should be 
maintained by moderate rule, sufficient supplies, and lawful tasks. On 
the other hand any offences of slaves which came under the animadversion 
of the State were visited with severer punishments than those of a 

The economical position of slaves requires some notice also. In 
theory they were simply instruments of their master; what they acquired 
passed at once to him; they were not capable of having property of 
their own, he was responsible for them as he was for any other domestic 
animal that he kept. But in practice slaves were usually allowed to 
accumulate property out of their savings or from gifts, and the law by a 
fiction allowed them to use it in purchasing their own freedom. Such 
quasi-property was called their peculiwm (“ petty stock”): it existed only 
so long as their master chose ; he could withdraw it, but rarely did so, 
except for grave offences. But so long as it existed and his master gave 
him a free hand, a slave could trade with it and enter into all kinds of 
business transactions ostensibly for himself, but in the eye of the law for 
the master’s account. He could not however give away anything, 
and he had no locus standi in court: he could sue and be sued only in 
the name of his master. If he was freed by his master when living, the 
peculium was deemed to accompany him, unless expressly withdrawn. 
But if he was freed by will or alienated, it did not pass with him unless 
expressly granted. liad ado 

The law of persons was greatly simplified by Justinian’s legislation. 
There were now only two classes of persons, slaves and freemen, though 
freemen were not all treated alike by the law. Besides some discrimina- 
tion in favour of persons of high rank, freedmen and serfs were in a very 
inferior position. 

FREEDMEN were manumitted slaves and retained traces of their former 
servile condition. In earlier times, besides the regular forms of manu- 
mission by a ceremony before the praetor or by last will, some legal 
effect used to be given to informal expressions of the master's will. The 
slave so informally emancipated became free in fact during his life, but 
his property on his death did not pass as a freeman s by will or to his 
relatives, but remained like a slave’s peculium to his former master or 
master’s representatives. Such half-freemen were called Latins as not 
being complete citizens. Justinian (531) allowed the informal acts 

CH. Il. 

64 Freedmen 

which had this imperfect effect to confer in future full freedom, so that 
a letter to the slave subscribed by five persons as witnesses, or a declara- 
tion similarly witnessed or recorded in court, or the delivery to the slave 
before five witnesses of his master’s documents of title, or the slave’s 
attendance on the bier of the deceased master by his or the heir’s 
direction, or the giving a female slave in marriage to a freeman with a 
dowry settled in writing, or addressing a slave in court as his son, were 
acts sufficient without further formality to make the slave a freedman or 
freedwoman. So also, by an edict of Claudius, ejection of a sick slave 
from the master’s house without making provision for him, or prostitution 
of a female slave in breach of a condition of her purchase, forfeited the 
master’s rights, and full freedom now ensued ; and other cases of freedom 
by operation of law are mentioned. Further Justinian repealed the 
laws which required a master to be twenty years old before he could 
emancipate slaves by will, and restricted the number. Constantine 
confirmed (316) a custom of giving freedom in church before the priests 
and congregation, a record of the matter being signed by the former ; 
and he allowed clerics to confer freedom on their slaves by any form of 
words without witnesses, the freedom to take effect on publication of the 
document at the master’s death. 

A freedman did not however by the act of manumission lose all trace 
of his former condition. He remained under limited control of his 
former master or owner, now patron, and patron’s children. A patron 
could claim respect (obsequium), services, and the succession to some or 
all of his property at death if he left no children as heirs. From services 
he could be exempted by a special grant by the Emperor of the right 
of wearing gold rings, and by a like grant (restitutio natalium, “ restora- 
tion of birth”) from the patron’s claim to his estate. Such grants were 
rarely made without the patron’s consent. Justinian dispensed with the 
formality of special grants and made the removal of the patron’s claim 
to services and inheritance follow of itself on a manumission. But unless 
the master then, or by way of trust in his will, made a declaration to 
that effect, this automatic grant did not exempt a freedman from the 
duty of due respect to his patron. He was punishable for using 
abusive language to him: he could not sue him or his children except 
by consent of the proper authority: and any suit which he brought had 
to shew formal respect by the complaints being couched in a mere 
statement of the facts without casting any imputation. Constantine 
allowed freedmen guilty of ingratitude or insolent conduct, even though 
not of a grave character, to be remitted into their patron’s power. A 
patron in need could claim support (alimenta) from his freedman. 
Claims to the status of freeborn, when disputed, were reserved for the 
decision of the city praefect or governor: claims to the status of freed- 
man were reserved likewise for the same high officials, or if the 
treasury was a party, then for the chief officer of that department. 

Serfs 65 

Serrs though free were in some respects not far removed from slaves. 
They were found usually in country districts in the provinces, and were 
often included under the general term “ cultivators” (coloni), which was 
also applied in republican and early imperial times to small farmers, who 
were freemen not only in law but in practice. The origin and history of 
this serfdom is not clear. It may very possibly have been developed on 
the example of Marcus Aurelius’ settlement in Italy of numbers of 
the peoples conquered in the Marcomannic War, and possibly on the 
example of the German “ Liten” (/aeti), settled on the Gallic border. 
But besides conquered tribes retained in their own country or settled 
in other countries, voluntary contract under pressure of poverty and 
statutes against beggary probably added to the number. The main- 
tenance of the land tax introduced by Diocletian made the retention of 
the cultivators on the several estates a necessity. 

The characteristic of a serf was that he and his descendants were 
inseparably attached to the land, and as a rule to one particular farm, 
specified in the government census, and held under a lord. If this 
particular part of the lord’s estate was over-supplied with cultivators, he 
might transfer serfs permanently to another part which was under- 
supplied, in accordance with the purpose of the institution—that of 
keeping the land under due cultivation and enabling it to bear taxes. 
But except in such a case the serfs could not be separated from the farm 
nor the farm from them. They were part of its permanent stock. If 
the lord sold a part of the land, he must convey with it a proportionate 
number of the serfs belonging. If a serf wandered or was stolen, or 
became a cleric without his lord’s consent, he could, whatever was the social 
position to which he had attained, be reclaimed by his lord just as if he 
were arunaway slave. And for some offences, e.g. marrying a freewoman, 
he was liable by statute, like a slave, to chains or stripes. He was not 
admissible to the army, but asa free man he paid poll tax. He could sell 
the surplus produce of his farm, and his savings, called his pecudiwm, were 
in a sort his property but were inalienable except in the way of trade ; 
on his death, (e.g. as a monk) childless and intestate, they passed to his 
lord, but usually would pass to his children or other successors on his 
farm. He might (apparently) own land, and would be entered in the 
Register as its holder and be liable for the land tax, whereas the tax on 
the farm to which he was attached as a serf would usually be collected 
from the lord. A serf was bound to pay a rent to his lord but the rent 
was certain, usually a fixed portion of the produce but sometimes a sum of 
money. Against any attempt of the lord to increase the rent, he could 
bring the case into court, but on all other grounds he was disabled from 
suing his lord. The rent was called canon or pensio. 

The union of serfs was held to be a marriage and accordingly the 
children were serfs, and even the children of a serf by a freewoman or a 
slave followed the condition of the father, until Justinian pressed by the 

C. MED. H. VOL. Il. CH. IL. § 

66 Patria potestas 

analogy of the rule regarding slaves’ unions, first made a serf’s offspring 
by a slavewoman to be slave (530), and afterwards from the love of liberty 
made a serf’s offspring by a freewoman to be free (533). He confirmed 
this again in 537 and 539, though, by the later law, he required the 
children, though free and retaining their property, to be permanently 
attached to the farm. Finally in 540, influenced by representations of 
the danger of thus depleting the land of its proper cultivators, he restored 
the old law and made the children serfs, without affecting the mother’s 
status as a freewoman. His successors made such children personally free. 

It was difficult for a serf to improve his status. Justinian abolished 
(c. 581) any claim to throw off serfdom by prescription, but allowed 
anyone who had been consecrated as a bishop to be free from serfdom as 
from slavery (546). Orthodoxy however was essential, and any serf who 
encouraged Donatist meetings on his land was to be beaten, and if he 
persisted was fined one-third of his peculiwm. 

Serfs were sometimes called originarii from being in the class by 
birth ; censtti from being enrolled in the census-register ; usually adscripti 
or adscripticit from being enrolled as of a certain farm ; tributari from 
paying poll tax. Another term, inquilini, which appears in the Digest 
in the begining of the third century, and in earlier inscriptions, appears 
to denote a similar class, possibly serfs living in huts on the land and 
employed either as cultivators or herdsmen or otherwise. The clear 
recognition of serfs as half-free is seen chiefly in laws since Constantine. 
After Justinian there is little said of them. 

Parria poresras. The father (or grandfather) when regularly 
married, as head of the family (paterfamilias), had in early times 
absolute power over the other members whether sons or daughters. 
And his wife, if married by the ancient forms, ranked as a daughter. 
In imperial times this relation was largely modified. She remained out- 
side her husband’s family, who instead of taking her whole property, 
received only a dowry of which he was rather the accountable manager 
than the beneficial owner. The children unless emancipated had no 
property of their own, any more than slaves had. Whatever came to 
them, from any source, passed in strict law at once to the father, who 
could do what he liked with it. This “fatherly power” endured 
irrespectively of the age or social or political position of his sons and 
daughters. A man of full age, married, with children and occupying a 
high office was, unless formally emancipated, still under his father’s power 
and had only a peculiwm like slaves. He could sue and be sued only in 
his father’s name and in law for his father’s account. Nor could he 
compel his father to emancipate him, and if emancipated himself he did 
not thereby carry his children with him, unless expressly included in the 
emancipation. If his father died, his children fell into his own power; 
if he died first, his children remained under his father’s power. Loss of 
citizenship had the same effect as death. 

Limitation of father’s claim to peculium 67 

Constantine in 319 made an important innovation. He enacted that 
the father’s full right over what came to his children should be restricted 
to what came from himself or his relatives; and that in anything that 
came from their mother, the head of the family should have only the 
usufruct and the administration, but with no right of alienation or 
mortgage. If the children died, (it was enacted in 439) their property, 
apart from the usufruct, passed to their children, or, if there were none, 
to their father as next heir, not to the grandfather, who if alive would 
be enjoying the usufruct. When the head of the family emancipated a 
child, he lost the usufruct, but was authorised to take one-third of the 
property. Justinian (529) repealed this and gave instead to the father 
(or other head of the family) the right to retain one-half of the usufruct. 
Further this arrangement was made to apply not only to what came 
from the mother but (excepting, as we shall see, camp-peculium) to every- 
thing which the children acquired by their own labour or by gift or will 
from other than their father’s relatives. The administration which 
accompanied the usufruct was not subject to any interference or impeach- 
ment by the children, who however were to be supported by their father. 
The father retained the usufruct, even if he married again. 

Soldiers from the time of Augustus were privileged to treat as their 
own property, disposable as they chose in their life or by their will, all 
gains made while in the army and in connexion therewith, including 
gifts from comrades. Such acquisitions were called their castrense- 
peculium. On this analogy Constantine (326) granted the like privilege 
to the court officials (padatini), and later Emperors extended it to 
provincial governors, judicial assessors, advocates and others in the 
imperial service (which was often called militia); and eventually (472) 
to bishops, presbyters and deacons of the orthodox faith. Wills 
disposing of such castrense, or quasi-castrense peculium, were specially 
exempted from challenge by children or parents on the ground of failure 
in due regard. In case of intestacy, before Justinian altered the law in 
543, the intestate’s camp-peculium passed to the father as if, like any 
other peculium, it had been his all along. 

As regards the persons of (free) children the father had the power 
and duty of correction and in early times presumably could sell or kill 
them, as he could slaves. But this right was rarely exercised, at least in 
historical times, though not until Constantine (319) was killing a son 
formally forbidden and ranked as parricide. Sale (with a right how- 
ever of redemption) was possible only in case of a newly-born child, 
under pressure of extreme poverty. Exposure of a child, at least after 
the second century, made the parent liable to punishment. Exposed 
children of whatever class could not be brought up as slaves or serfs or 
freed, but were to be deemed freeborn and independent (529). Previously 
to this law of Justinian it was left to the bringer-up to make them slave 
or free at his choice. 

CH. II. 5—2 

68 Adoption. Guardianship 

The dissolution of the natural father’s power over his children, 
whether in order to make the child independent (sui juris), or to give 
him by adoption into another’s power, was in old times effected by a 
complicated ceremonial. his was abolished by Justinian (531), who 
substituted in the case of adoption a declaration before a competent 
magistrate, both parties being present, and, in the case of emancipation, 
either the like simple declaration, or, according to a law of Anastasius 
(502), if the son or daughter were of age and not present in court, a 
declaration, supported by a petition to the Emperor, with his grant of the 
prayer and the consent of the child, if not an infant. 

By avoprion in older times a person passed under the fatherly power 
of one who was not his natural father. If he was not independent, he 
passed entirely from one family to another: his natural father no longer 
controlled him or was responsible for him, the son’s acquisitions did not 
pass to him, nor had the son any right to his inheritance. The adoptive 
father stood in the natural father’s place, and could retain or emancipate 
him. Justinian (530) altered this in all cases where the adopter was an 
outsider. The adopted person retained all his rights and position in 
his natural father’s family, and simply acquired a right of succession to 
the adopter if he died intestate. But if the adopter was the grandfather 
or other ascendant either on the father’s or mother’s side, the effect of 
adoption remained as of old. 

Adoption of a person who was suz juris was often called adrogation, 
and required a rescript from the Emperor. If the person to be adopted 
was under age (impubes), inquiry was made whether it was for his 
advantage, and the adopter had to give security to a public officer for 
restoration of all the adopted’s property to his right heirs, if he died 
under age. If he emancipated him without lawful cause, or died, he was 
bound by a law of Antoninus Pius to leave him one-fourth part of his 
property, besides all that belonged to the adopted person himself. If a 
person adrogated had children, they passed with him under the power 
of the adopter. In all cases it was required that the adopter should be 
at least eighteen years older than the adopted. 

Guarpiansuir. In the old law guardians (¢atores) were required not 
only for young persons for a time, but for women throughout their life, 
though the authority they exercised was often nominal. Guardianship 
for women was criticised by Gaius as irrational, and it ceased probably 
before Constantine. By Justinian’s time, guardianship affected only 
impuberes. He fixed the age for puberes at fourteen for males, twelve 
for females. Up to that age, if their father or other head of the family 
was dead, or if they were freed from his power, they required a guardian 
to authorise any legal act which was to bind them. Without such 
authority they could bind others but not themselves, the rule being that 
they could improve but could not impair their estate. After the age of 
puberty the law regarded them as capable of taking the responsibility 

Guardians and Curators 69 

of their own acts, but practically they had not the requisite knowledge 
and discretion. No one could deal safely with them, because of the risk 
of the contract or other business being rescinded, if the praetor found 
that it was equitable to do so. To meet this difficulty a curator was 
often appointed to guide young persons in the conclusion of particular 
business, and eventually was appointed to act regularly in matters of 
business until the ward became 25 years old. It was the analogy of 
madmen, etc. (mentioned below), which probably suggested this course. 
From the third century allowance of age (venia aetatis) could be obtained 
from the Emperor by youths of 20 years, women of 18, on evidence 
of fitness. Justinian however (529) restrained them from all sale or 
mortgage of land, unless specially authorised. 

A guardian was appointed by the father’s will. In default of such 
appointinent, the mother or grandmother had the first claim by Justinian’s 
latest legislation, and then the nearest male in order of succession to 
the inheritance. If such were disqualified, the praetor at Rome, 
the governors in the provinces, and if the estate was small, the town- 
defenders, made the appointment of both guardians and curators. 
Guardianship was regarded as a public office, and no one was excused 
from undertaking it, except for approved cause. Guardians and curators 
were liable for any loss caused by their act or neglect. They could 
not marry their wards, unless approved by the ward’s father or by 
his will. 

Mothers had been allowed (since 390) to act in these capacities for 
their own children, but by Justinian’s final legislation, had to renounce 
the right of re-marriage and the benefit of the Velleian Senate’s decree 
(see below). If they broke their promise, they incurred infamy and 
became incapable of inheriting from any but near relatives, besides 
losing part of their property. 

Severus (195) prohibited all sale of a ward’s land in the country or 
suburbs unless authorised by the father’s will or by the praetor. A 
subsequent edict directed everything else to be sold and reduced inte 
money. Later Emperors (326 and after) reversed this direction, and 
partly on the ground of probable attachment of the ward to the family 
house, and the utility of old family slaves, and partly from the difficulty 
of finding good investments, ordered all the property to be preserved, 
unless land had to be purchased or loans made in order to supply the 
ward’s needs. 

Madmen and spendthrifts, pronounced such by the praetor, were by 
the XII Tables under the care of their agnates (relatives through males) 
but in practice under a curator appointed by the praetor or provincial 
governor. So also a curator was appointed, without limit of age in the 
ward, for the demented, or deaf and dumb, or for persons incapacitated 
for business by chronic disease. The practice of making contracts by 
oral stipulation brought deaf and dumb into this category. 


70 Rescission of contracts. Postlminium 

The protection of minors, mentioned above, was an interesting 
feature of Roman Law but must often have been very embarrassing in 
practice. Whatever business a minor had conducted, a sale, a purchase, 
a loan, a pledge, acceptance of an inheritance, agreement to an arbitra- 
tion, etc., if it was shewn that he had been in any way deceived or 
overreached or had suffered from want of due vigilance, application 
might be made to the Court, to have the matter rescinded, provided he 
had not acted fraudulently and there was no other remedy. ‘The Court 
heard the parties, and if it found the claim just, put the parties back, 
so far as possible, into their old positions. This was called zn integrum 
restitutio. The application had to be made within (originally) one year 
after the minor’s completing his twenty-fifth year, and would be rejected 
if after this age he had in any way approved his former act or default. 
Justinian extended the period to four years. 

A similar reinstatement was sometimes granted to persons of full age, 
if it were shewn that they had suffered serious loss owing to absence on 
the public service, or to captivity, or fraud, or intimidation. Or the 
reverse might be the case: similar absence of others might have pre- 
vented plaintiff from bringing a suit or serving a notice within the proper 
time: reinstatement might then sometimes be obtained. 

A person, who had been taken captive by the enemy and returned 
home with the intention of remaining, was held to re-enter at once into 
his old position, his affairs having been in the meantime in a state of 
suspense. This was called the law of postliminium (reverter). His own 
marriage was however dissolved by his captivity, as if he were dead, 
though his relation to his children was only suspended till it was known 
whether he would return. 

Slaves and other chattels taken by the enemy, if brought back into 
Roman territory, similarly reverted to their former owners subject to any 
earlier claims which attached to them. Anyone who ransomed them 
from the enemy had a lien for the amount of the ransom. 

MarriacE was often preceded by betrothal, that is by a solemn 
mutual promise. The consent of the parties was required, but, if the 
woman was under her father’s power, she was presumed to agree to his 
act unless she plainly dissented. The age of seven was deemed necessary 
for consent. The restrictions on marriage applied to betrothal, and a 
betrothed person was for some purposes treated in law as if married. 
Betrothal was usually accompanied by gifts, as earnest from or on behalf 
of each party to the other. If the receiver died, the giver had a right 
to its return, unless a kiss had passed between them, when the half only 
could be recovered (336). Breach of the contract without good cause, 
such as lewd conduct, diversity of religion, etc., previously unknown to 
the other, at one time involved a penalty of fourfold (i.¢., the earnest 

Betrothal. Marriage 71 

and threefold its value), but in the fourth century this was remitted 
altogether, if the father or other ascendant of a girl, betrothed before 
she was ten years old, renounced the marriage, and in the fifth century 
(4°72) it was reduced generally to twofold. Delay for two years to fulfil 
the promise was a sufficient justification for the girl’s marrying another. 

Marriage in Roman Law is the union of life of man and woman 
for the purpose of having children as members of a family in the Roman 
Commonwealth. Both must be citizens of Rome or of a nation recognised 
for this status by the Romans; they must be of the age of puberty; if 
independent, must give their own consent, if not, their father must 
consent. Nuptias non concubitus sed consensus facit was the dominant 
rule of Roman Law. It was the avowed purpose of such a union and 
public recognition that distinguished marriage from concubinage. In 
earlier times the woman passed by one of several forms with all her 
property into the power (manus) of her husband and occupied the 
position of a daughter. Gradually a freer marriage was developed, by 
which the woman did not become part of her husband’s family, but 
remained either under her father’s power, or independent, and controlled, 
with the aid of a guardian for a time, her own property, except so far as 
she had given part as dowry. The ceremonials, which accompanied the 
old forms of marriage, gradually went out of use and had apparently 
ceased in or by the third century. The only external mark of marriage 
was then the woman’s being led into her husband’s house, and thus the 
paradoxical statement could be made that a woman could be married in 
the absence of her husband, but a husband could not be married in the 
absence of his wife. The settlement of a dowry grew to be, and was 
made by Justinian, a decisive characteristic of marriage, though its 
absence did not prevent a union otherwise legal and formed with the 
affection and intention of marriage from being such in the eye of the law. 

Marriage, and of course also betrothal, could take place only between 
free persons, not of the same family, and not otherwise closely connected. 
The old law was reaffirmed by a constitution of Diocletian (295), which 
expressly forbad marriage of a man with his ascendants or descendants 
or aunt or sister or their descendants or with step-daughter, step-mother, 
daughter-in-law, mother-in-law or others forbidden by the law of old. 
A woman was forbidden to marry the corresponding relatives. Such 
marriages were incestuous. Relationship formed when one or both 
parties were slaves was equally a bar. Constantius (342) also forbad 
marriage with brother’s daughter or grand-daughter and (in 355) 
marriage with brother’s widow or wife’s sister—a prohibition repeated 
in 415. The marriage of first cousins, forbidden with the approval of 
St Ambrose by Theodosius about 385, was relieved from extreme penalty 
(of fine) by his sons in 396, and expressly permitted in 405. J ustinian 
(530) forbad marriage with a god-daughter. No change was made 
in the old law which permitted a step-son of one parent to marry a 


72 Prohibited marriages. Dowry 

step-daughter of the other, and forbad the marriage of brothers and 
sisters by adoption so long only as they remained in the same family. 
Marriage with the daughter of a sister by adoption was legal. 

Other prohibitions were based on considerations outside of the 
family tie. A guardian or curator was prohibited by Severus and later 
Emperors from marrying his ward, if under twenty-six years of age, either 
to himself or his son, unless special permission was obtained. Provincials 
were forbidden by Valentinian (c. 373) to marry barbarians under 
threat of capital punishment. Jews and Christians were forbidden by 
Theodosius (388) to intermarry, the act being punished as adultery. 
Justinian (530) “ following the sacred canon ” forbad presbyters, deacons, 
and sub-deacons to marry at all; if they did, their children were to 
be treated as born of incestuous connexion. 

Senators and their descendants were forbidden by Augustus and by 
Marcus Aurelius to marry freed persons or actors or actresses or their 
children. Constantine (836) forbad any person of high rank or official 
position in towns to marry, whether after concubinage or not, freed 
women or actresses or stall-keepers or their daughters or others of low 
condition, mere poverty not being regarded as such (Valentinian 454). 
Justin, in consequence of his nephew Justinian’s marriage with Theodora, 
removed this prohibition, if the woman had ceased to practise her 
profession, and gave to his law retrospective effect from his accession. 
Justinian relaxed the rule still further, and eventually (542) enabled all 
persons to inarry any free woman, but in the case of dignitaries only by 
regular marriage settlement: others could marry either by settlement or 
by marital affection without settlement. 

Forbidden marriages were declared to be no marriages, dowry and 
marriage gift were forfeited to the Crown, the children were not even to 
be deemed natural children; the parties were incapable of giving by 
will to any outsiders or to each other. Incestuous marriage, by 
Justinian’s latest law (535), was punished by exile and forfeiture of all 
property, and in the case of persons of low rank by personal chastisement. 
Any children by a previous lawful marriage became independent, took 
their father’s property and had to support him. 

Dowry. A woman’s dowry was a contribution from herself or her 
relatives or others to the expenses of the married life, placed under the 
charge and at the disposal of the husband, and, although theoretically his 
property, to be accounted for by him on the dissolution of the marriage 
to the donor or the wife. It presumed a lawful marriage: it could be 
given either before or after, but if given before it took effect only on 
marriage. It was governed by customary rules and often by special 
agreements consistent with its general principles. From the time of 
Constantine a betrothed husband’s or wife’s gift made in view of an 
intended marriage was revocable by the donor, if the donee or the wife’s 
father was the cause of the marriage not taking place. And a gift from 

Marriage settlements 73 

the husband, which was now a usual incident, was treated as balancing 
the dowry and gradually subjected to like treatment (468). As the 
dowry could be increased by the wife or others during the marriage 
(notwithstanding the rule against gifts between husband and wife), so 
also could the husband’s antenuptial gift, and, if none such had been 
made, he was allowed to make one not exceeding the value of the dowry, 
and any agreements which had been made for a marriage settlement 
could be modified accordingly. The amount of the settlement could be 
reduced by mutual consent, unless there were children of the marriage, 
for which the settlement was made (527). Justinian enacted (529) that 
all agreements for the share to be taken by the wife in her husband’s gift 
after his death were to apply to the share to be taken by the husband 
in the wife’s dowry on her death, the larger share to be reduced 
to the smaller, and altered the phrase ante nuptias donatio to propter 
nuptias donatio, that it might fit the extended character (531). In 
539 he enacted that the dowry and the marriage gift should be equal, 
and that in all cases of dissolution of the marriage, whether either party 
married again or not, the amount coming to him or her from the settle- 
ments of the marriage or former marriage should pass as property to the 
children of the marriage and only the usufruct to the parent; and that 
was to be subject to the support of the children. In 548 he enacted 
that either party abstaining from a second marriage should as a reward 
share with the children in the property of the dowry or nuptial gift, 
besides enjoying the usufruct of the whole: and further he required 
that the husband or his friends should (as in other cases of gift) 
record in court the amount of his marriage gift if over 500 solide 
(about equal to £500) under penalty for omission of losing all share 
in the dowry. 

A woman’s claim for her dowry had since 529 (and still more since 
539) precedence of almost all other claims on her husband’s property ; 
and if her husband was insolvent she could maintain her claim on the 
settled property even during his life against his creditors, and against her 
father or mother or other donor unless they had expressly stipulated 
for its return. 

Any money or securities or other property which the wife had beside 
her dowry (parapherna) were not touched by any of these agreements 
or statutes, but remained entirely the property of the wife and subject 
to her claim and disposition. The fact was sometimes mentioned in the 
dowry deed, and the husband and his property were answerable for the 
parapherna so far as they were under his care. Justinian (530) allowed 
him to sue for them on his wife’s behalf, and to use the interest for 
their joirit purposes, but the capital he was to deal with according to 
her wish. 

Srconp Marriaces were the subject of much change of opinion, in 
the minds of the Emperors at least, between Augustus and Justinian. 

OH, II. 

74 Second marriages 

Under the former celibacy was not merely discouraged, but visited with 
the penalty of incapacity to take an inheritance or legacy, if the man 
was under sixty or the woman under fifty years of age. Constantine 
appears to have been the first to modify this legislation. No doubt the 
declension of the Roman population had ceased to have the importance 
which led to Augustus’ stringent enactments, now that the Empire 
contained a wider field for supplying recruits for the army. And the 
Christian Church, coming by the fourth century to count the single life 
nobler than the married, and encouraging anchorite and monastic 
asceticism, looked on second marriages with increasing dislike and 
reprobation. The Emperors in the fourth century, though requiring 
the father’s consent to the re-marriage of a woman under twenty-five 
years of age, and severe in condemnation and punishment of any woman 
who married again within ten months (in 381 extended to one year) from 
the death of her husband, in other cases interfered only to secure the 
interest of the children of the former marriage. Justinian dealt with 
the subject in 536 and 539. As regards any property derived from the 
former husband or wife the party marrying again, as already mentioned, 
retained only the usufruct, the children of the former marriage being 
entitled to the property in equal shares. As regards property not 
derived from the former partner, the party re-marrying was disabled 
from giving by dowry or otherwise or leaving to the second wife or 
husband more than the smallest share of it which any child of the former 
marriage would get. Under the law any excess was to be divided 
equally between the said children if not “ ungrateful.” 

If property was left to a person on condition of his or her not 
marrying again, it used to be the practice to require an oath for the 
observance of the condition before the property was transferred. 
Justinian, in order to prevent frequent perjury and secure the execution 
of testator’s intention, allowed the legatee, after a year for reflexion, to 
have a transfer of the bequest, or, if it be money, the payment of interest 
on it. Security had to be given, or at least an oath to be taken, by the 
recipient that he would, if the condition were broken, restore the property 
transferred with the profits or interest. His or her own property was 
tacitly pledged by the statute (536). 

By second marriage a mother lost the right, which the law usually 
gave her, of educating her former children, and the guardianship, if she 
had it, and lost all dignities and privileges derived from her former 

Divorce. Until the year 542 marriage could be dissolved in the 
life of the parties by mutual consent without special cause and with only 
such consequences as were agreed between them, In that year Justinian 
forbad any such divorce except in order to lead a life of chastity. For 
breach of this law he enacted in 556 that both parties were to be sent 
into a monastery for the rest of their lives; of their property one-third 

Divorce. Repudium 75 

was to be given to the monastery and two-thirds to their children: if 
there were no children, two-thirds to the monastery and one-third to 
their parents ; if they had no ascendants alive, all to the monastery. If 
however husband and wife agreed to come together again, the penalties 
were not enforced : if one only was willing, he or she was freed. 

Justinian’s son, Justin, in 566 yielded to persistent complaints and 
restored the old law permitting divorce by mutual consent. 

Divorce at the instance of one party only, called repudium, in old 
times was subject to no restraint, but in Augustus’ time required seven 
witnesses to the declaration, which was made orally or in writing and 
delivered to the other party by declarant’s freedman. Under the 
Emperors a dissolution of marriage without good ground was visited 
with penalties. Good ground was either incapacity on the part of the 
husband for a period of three years from marriage, or desire to lead a 
life of chastity, or captivity, combined with the other’s ignorance for 
five years of the captive’s being alive. In these cases, called by Justinian 
divortium bona gratia, the dowry is given back to the wife and the 
marriage gift to the husband, but no penalty is incurred. On the other 
hand for grave crime or offence either party may repudiate the other 
and gain both dowry and marriage gift. The offences as specified by 
Valentinian (449) were in the main the same in both cases, adultery, 
murder, enchantments, treason, sacrilege, grave-robbery, kidnapping, 
forgery, attacks on the other's life, or blows: also in the case of the 
man, cattle-lifting, brigandage or brigand-harbouring, associating with 
immodest women in presence of his wife: in the case of the woman, 
revelling with other men not belonging to her, without her husband’s 
knowledge or consent, or against his will going to theatres or amphi- 
theatres or horse races, or without good cause absenting herself from 
his bed. Justinian (535) added to the wife’s offences wilful abortion, 
bathing with other men, and arranging a future marriage while still 

By a later law (542) Justinian reduced the number of offences which 
would justify repudiation to six on the part of the wife, viz., conspiracy 
against the Empire or concealing such from her husband, proved 
adultery, attempt on the husband’s life, banqueting or bathing with 
strange men without his consent, staying out of her own house except at 
her parents’ house or with her husband’s consent, visiting circus shows or 
theatres or amphitheatres without his knowledge and approval. On the 
part of the husband five offences only are to count: conspiracy against 
the Empire, attempt on his wife’s life or neglect to avenge her, conniving 
at others’ attempts on her chastity, charging her with adultery and 
failing to’ prove it, associating with other women in the house where his 
wife dwells or frequently consorting with another woman in the same 
town and persisting after several admonitions by his wife’s parents or 
others. The regular penalty for the guilty person in such a case and 


76 Concubinage 

for repudiation on other grounds than those sanctioned by the law was 
forfeiture of all the settled property to the innocent person, if there 
were no children, and if there were children, the innocent person was to 
have the usufruct and the children the property in remainder. In graver 
cases an additional amount from the other property of the delinquent 
equal to one-third of the dowry or nuptial gift forfeited, was to be so 
treated. Where the marriage was not accompanied by a settlement, the 
guilty party was to forfeit one-fourth of his or her property to the other. 
By the latest legislation (556) the penalty was to be as for dissolution 
merely by mutual consent. 

If a husband beat his wife with whip or stick, the marriage was not 
dissoluble on that account, but he was to forfeit to her of his own 
property as much as was equal to one-third of the marriage gift. 

As regards persons in military or other imperial service, Justinian 
eventually enacted (549) that death should not be presumed from 
absence of news however long, but if the wife hear of her husband’s 
death she must inquire, and, if the authorities of the regiment swear to 
his death, she must wait a year before marrying again. Otherwise both 
husband and wife will be punished as adulterers. 

ConcuBINAGE was a connexion not merely transitory or occasional but 
continuous, for the gratification of passion, not for the founding of a 
family of citizens. The children, if any, had no legal relation to their 
father any more than their mother had. And thus, the economical 
relations between the man and woman being in law those of independent 
persons, gifts were not barred in concubinage as they were in marriage. 
Such a connexion was a matter of social depreciation, but not subject to 
moral disapprobation if the man was unmarried. Foreigners and soldiers 
in the early Empire were rarely capable of contracting a regular Roman 
marriage (matrimonium justum), and a looser connexion became almost 
inevitable. By Romans in a higher class it was rarely formed except 
with a woman of inferior position, a slave or a freedwoman, and in such 
cases was thought more seemly than marriage. With freeborn women it 
was unusual, unless they followed some ignoble trade or profession or 
had otherwise lost esteem. Constantine and other Christian Emperors 
viewed it with strong disfavour, and discouraged it by refusing legal 
validity to all gifts and testamentary dispositions by the man in favour 
of the children of the connexion. On the other hand the conversion of 
concubinage into marriage and consequent legitimation of the children 
was encouraged, at first under Constantine, only when there were no 
legitimate children already and when the concubine was a freeborn 
woman. Marriage settlements having been executed, the children born 
before as well as any born after became legitimate, and (if they consented) 
subject to their father’s power and alike eligible to his succession. After 
varied legislation eventually Justinian enacted in 539 that this should 
apply to freedwomen also and apply whether there were children before, 

Legitimation of natural children 77 

legitimate or not, and whether others were born after or not. In the 
previous year he had provided that, where by the death of the mother or 
for other cause marriage was not feasible, the children might be legitimated 
on the father’s application or in accordance with his will ; and that a 
woman who, trusting to a man’s oath on the Gospels or in church that 
he would regard her as his wife, had lived long with him and perhaps 
had children, could on proving the fact maintain her position against 
him and be entitled to the usufruct of a fourth of his estate, the children 
having the property; if there were three children she had the usufruct of a 
child’s share. In 542 he provided that if a man in a public deed, or his 
own writing duly witnessed, or in his will called a child by a free woman 
his son without adding the epithet “natural,” this sufficed to make him 
and his brothers legitimate and their mother a legitimate wife without 
further evidence. 

As regards connexions with slave women Justinian in 539 enacted 
that they might be legitimatised by enfranchisement and marriage 
settlement, and the children of the connexion though born in slavery 
would thereby become free and legitimate. He had already in 531 
provided that if a man having no wife has formed such a connexion 
and maintained it till his death, the woman and her children should 
become free after his death, if he did not make other disposition 
by his will. 

Theodosius in 443 had introduced another mode of improving the 
condition of natural children. He authorised a father either in his life 
or by his will to present one or more of his natural children to the 
municipal council of his town to become a member of their body, and 
further authorised him to give or leave such children any amount of his 
property to support their rank and position; and similarly to give his 
natural daughters in marriage to members of the council. Those so 
presented were not allowed to decline the position, burdensome though 
it was. They succeeded to their father’s intestate inheritance just as 
if they were legitimate, but had no claim to the inheritance of their 
father’s relatives. Theodosius restricted this right to a father who had 
no legitimate children. Justinian (539) in confirming the law removed 
this restriction but limited such a natural son’s share of the inheritance 
to the smallest amount which fell to any legitimate son. 

The jus lberorum exempting from the disabilities imposed by the 
Papian law was acquired by natural as well as by legitimate children, 
and so also the reciprocal rights between mother and children of intestate 
inheritance given by the Tertullian and Orfitian Senates’ decrees. The 
Papian law was abolished by Constantine (320). 

Incestuous connexion was not tolerated as concubinage any more 
than as marriage. Children of such or other prohibited connexion 
were not capable of legitimation or of any claim on their parents, even 
for aliment. 

CH, IIl. 

78 Will-making 
Eee ea emeet Gee PE ee 

Wiss. A will in Roman law was not a mere distribution of 
testator’s property: it was the formal nomination of one or more persons 
to continue as it were his personality and succeed to the whole. of his 
rights and obligations to men and gods. In early times the heir? had 
to perform the sacred rites of the family and to pay the debts, and if 
testator’s property was not sufficient, he was still liable himself in full. 

The power of making a will belonged to all free persons who were 
sui juris (é.e., not under the power of their father or other ascendant), of 
the age of puberty, not mad at the time and not naturally quite deaf and 
dumb. Spendthrifts and persons in the enemy’s power could not make 
a will, but a will made before interdiction or capture was good. 

The procedure was simplified by Justinian, partly indeed by previous 
Emperors. Seven witnesses were required, all present at the same time 
and subscribing and sealing the written document containing the will. 
Neither woman nor child nor anyone in the power of testator nor slave 
nor deaf nor dumb nor mad nor spendthrift nor the heir named nor 
anyone in the heir’s power nor one in whose power the heir was, is a good 
witness. There was no objection to legatees as witnesses. The testator 
must sign the will and acknowledge it as his will to the witnesses, but 
need not disclose its contents. If he cannot write, an eighth person 
must subscribe for him. If he is blind, there must be a notary (tabel- 
larius) to write and subscribe the will, or at least an additional witness. 
If the will be written entirely by testator and he states this fact in the 
document, five witnesses suffice. Valentinian III (446) had allowed a 
holographic will to be valid even without witnesses. The will might be 
written on boards or paper or parchment: the material was unimportant. 
Nor need the will be written at all. An oral declaration by the testator 
of his will in the presence of seven witnesses was enough without further 

Justinian made a concession to country people in places where 
literates (z.e. persons able to read and write) were scarce. There must 
be at least five witnesses, literates if possible, one or two of whom if 
necessary might subscribe for the rest. In such wills the witnesses must 
however be informed who are appointed heirs, and must depose this on 
oath after testator’s death. 

Soldiers although in the power of their fathers were competent to 
make a will dealing with their separate estate (castrense peculium). If 
they were in actual service in camp or had not retired more than a year, 
their will was exempted from all formalities. This concession was begun 
by Julius Caesar and made permanent by Trajan in the most general 
terms: “Let my fellow soldiers make their testaments as they will and as 
they can, and let the bare will of the testator suffice for the division of 

‘ The heir (heres) is concerned with both personalty and realty (Roman law 

drawing no such distinction), and (except for that) is fairly represented by the 
earliest form of English executor, who was entitled to take the residue. 

Codicils 79 

his goods.” It must however be definitely made and understood as a 
will and not be a mere casual remark in conversation. Such a will 
ceased to be valid after testator had left the service for a year ; he must 
then make his will in the ordinary form. Words written on his shield 
or scabbard with his blood or scratched in the dust with his sword at 
the time of death in battle were allowed by Constantine as a soldier’s will. 

A will might be revoked not only by a second will duly made, but by 
cutting the threads which fastened the tablets or breaking the seals with 
that intention. If ten years have elapsed, a verbal declaration of 
revocation proved by three witnesses or made in court is enough. If a 
second will not duly made gave the inheritance to the persons who would 
be entitled on intestacy and the first will gave it to others not so 
entitled, the second will, if witnessed by five persons on oath, is to 
prevail (439). 

Copicms. An informal disposition of property was sometimes made 
by a testator’s writing his desire in a note-book (codicilli). The practice 
was introduced with Augustus’ approval and was confirmed by the great 
lawyer Labeo, in that he followed it himself. It was originally connected 
with fideicommissa. Codicils presupposed a will appointing an heir, and 
might be made more than once, before or after the will, but should be 
confirmed expressly or impliedly by the will, subsequently or by antici- 
patory clause. Even if no will followed, codicils were held good, if 
there was evidence of testator’s not having retracted his intention, 
testator in such a case being deemed to have addressed his request to the 
heir ab intestato. Only by way of trust could an heir be appointed 
in codicils. Codicils required five witnesses who should subscribe the 
written document. ‘Testator’s subscription was not necessary if he had 
written the codicils himself. Oral codicils are mentioned. 

It became a practice for a testator in making a formal will to insert 
a clause declaring that if for any cause the will should be found invalid 
as a will, e.g. by the heir’s non-acceptance, he desired that it should pass 
as codicils. Any person claiming under the will had to elect whether he 
claimed as under a will or under codicils, and to declare his intention at 
the first. Parents however and children within the fourth degree were 
allowed after suing on it as a will and being unsuccessful to apply as for 
a trust, for they are regarded as claiming what is due, whereas outsiders 
are trying to secure a gain (424). 

A testator could appoint as many heirs as he pleased. If no shares 
are mentioned, all take equally. If some heirs accept and others do not, 
those who accept take the whole among them, the shares being in the 
original proportions to each other. <A testator may also provide for the 
contingeney of the heir or heirs named not accepting, or dying, or 
otherwise failing to take, and substitute another or others on this con- 
tingency. And he could also appoint a substitute for a child in his 
power becoming heir but dying before he came of age (puberty). In 

CH, Il. 

80 Heirs on condition. Slave heirs 

such a case the substitute becomes heir to the father, if the son does not 
become heir, and heir to the son, if the son has become heir but dies 
before puberty. Nor was a testator bound to appoint his son heir; he 
might disinherit him and yet appoint an heir to any property which 
came to his son from inheritance or gift from others. Justinian allowed 
a father to make a similar will for a son of full age who was demented. 

If an heir is appointed on a condition, which at the time of testator’s 
death it is impossible to fulfil, the condition goes for nothing and the 
appointment is absolute. But if the appointed heir is a son, the 
appointment is treated as bad, and the son being thus passed over, the 
will is null, and the son becomes heir on an intestacy. A condition 
which could be fulfilled but involved an illegal or immoral action was 
treated as impossible, Papinian laying down the principle that acts 
should be deemed impossible which do violence to dutiful affection, to 
fair repute, to respectful modesty, and generally which are opposed to 
good conduct. 

A testator could make one of his slaves heir, if he also gave him his 
freedom. The slave then became heir of necessity, and this plan was 
sometimes adopted by a testator who was insolvent, in order that the 
disgrace of the estate being sold in bankruptcy might fall on him rather 
than on the testator. As compensation for this misfortune, the creditors 
were not allowed any right to be paid out of acquisitions made by him 
since testator’s death. 

Madmen, dumb, infants, posthumous, children under power, others” 
slaves, were capable of being heirs. 

InuERirance. The position of an heir as a representative of the 
deceased was in many cases attended with much uncertainty and serious 
risk. His own estate was liable, if testator’s was not sufficient, to pay 
the creditors. If more than one person was appointed heir, each was 
liable in proportion to his share as specified by testator, or, if no share 
was named, then in equal shares. 'Testator might give away from his 
heirs such parts of his property as he chose, and these legacies, unlike the 
heirship, carried no unexpressed burden with them: a legatee was a mere 
recipient of bounty, unless some condition was attached: he was a 
successor to testator’s rights in a particular thing only. 

In such circumstances the appointed heir or heirs could not prudently 
accept the inheritance until after careful inquiry into the solvency of the 
estate, and even then the emergence of some previously undiscovered debt 
might upset all his calculations and ruin him. Further, besides testator’s 
debts, the heir is liable also to pay the legacies, and cannot prevent the 
loss to the estate of the slaves to whom testator may have given freedom 
by his will. Hence there might be further ground for hesitation in 
accepting the inheritance, and yet if no heir named accepts, the will 
becomes a dead letter, intestacy results and the legacies and freedoms 
fall to the ground. 

Benefit of inventory. Lex Falcidia 81 

_ The first-named difficulty was met very imperfectly by testator’s 
fixing a period for the heir to make his decision (creteo); afterwards by 
statute (529) allowing an heir a year for deliberation without his losing 
the right, if he died before decision, of transmitting to his child or other 
successor his claim to the inheritance. But a still more effective remedy 
was enacted in 531. The heir was empowered, under suitable precau- 
tions for accuracy and after inviting the presence of creditors and 
legatees, to make an inventory and valuation of the assets of the 
deceased, and was then not bound to discharge debts and legacies beyond 
that total amount. He need not distribute the value of the estate pro 
rata to the claimants, but (unless fully aware of the insufficiency of 
the estate) could pay them in the order of their application. Then 
creditors who had any right or priority could proceed against any 
posterior to themselves who had received payment, or against holders 
of any property specifically pledged to them, and all creditors not 
satisfied could proceed against legatees who had been paid out of what 
turned out to be insufficient to cover the debts. This provision for 
limiting the heir’s liability was called “the benefit of an inventory,” and 
heirs were thus no longer prevented from promptly accepting an 
inheritance which might turn out to be ruinous. 

Further difficulty arose from legacies and freedoms left in the will. 
Testator’s estate might be able to meet the debts, but if there were 
many or heavy charges for bequests, there might be nothing left to 
make it worth while for the heir to accept the inheritance, and the will 
might therefore be nullified. Several attempts to meet this difficulty 
were made, but nothing effectual, until a Lew Falcidia was passed 
c.B.c. 40. This law, as interpreted by the lawyers, allowed the heir or 
heirs, if necessary, to reduce the amount of each legacy by so much as 
would leave the heir or heirs collectively one-fourth of the inheritance in 
value, the value being taken as at the time of death after deducting the 
value of slaves freed, the debts, and funeral expenses. If any legacies 
lapsed or other gain accrued to the heirs from the estate, this would be 
counted towards the Falcidian fourth (as it was called). By this arrange- 
ment the heir was sure of getting something, if he accepted a solvent 
inheritance. And as, if he refused, the will would drop and the legacies 
be lost, the legatees might be willing to accept possibly a further deduc- 
tion to prevent intestacy. The application of the Falcidian law had 
been so thoroughly worked out by the lawyers that Justinian seems to 
have found little occasion for further enactment, except (535) to provide 
for the presence of the legatees or their agents at taking the inventory, 
with power to put the heir on his oath and to examine the slaves by 
torture for’ the purpose of getting full information. An heir neglecting 
to make an inventory was liable to creditors in full and could not 
use the Falcidian against the legatees. In 544 Justinian directed that 
the Falcidian should not apply to any immovable which testator had 

C. MED. H. VOL. H. CH. III. 6 

82 Trusts.  Fideicommissa 

expressly desired should not be alienated from his family, otherwise it 
might have now to be sold. In 535 he had directed the Falcidian not 
to be used, if testator had expressly so willed. 

Differences in the form of legacies led to many legal discussions which 
Justinian settled by treating all the forms as having the same effect, and 
giving the legatee both a direct claim to the thing bequeathed and also 
a personal claim on the heir to transfer it. Trusrs (/%deicommissa*) 
were another subject of complication. In or before the time of Augustus 
attempts were made by testators to leave their estates, or a legacy, 
to persons legally disqualified to take them (e¢.g., foreigners, Latins, 
unmarried persons, women in some cases). In a trust the heir was not 
directed to transfer the estate or legacies but simply requested to do so. 
There was no legal compulsion, the heir could fulfil the testator’s desire 
or not as he chose; if the property was transferred, it was as the act of 
the living heir and not therefore hampered by restrictions which affected 
gifts from the dead. Augustus, after much hesitation, treated such a 
desire as obligatory on the heir. Gradually such appeals to the honour 
and good faith of the heir became frequent and obtained full recognition 
and use. Advantage was eagerly taken of this untechnical language to 
get round many of the limitations of ordinary testamentary law ; and if 
only an heir was duly appointed and entered on the inheritance, almost 
any dispositions, direct or contingent, present or future, might be made 
of the estate or part of it through him as a channel. Thus testator 
might secure the transfer of his estate or of a legacy in certain events 
from the person first made heir or legatee to another person. Or he 
might prevent his estate from being alienated from his family by 
requesting the successive holders to pass it on at their deaths to other 
members. And trusts might be imposed not only on named persons, 
but on the heir or heirs by intestacy, in case the will should not have 
regular validity. The Courts strove to give effect to the intentions of a 
testator however mildly or informally expressed, and to protect the 
trust against the heir. But the old difficulties then recurred: the heir 
might as easily be overburdened with trusts as with legacies, and if he 
did not think it worth while to enter on the inheritance, the will failed 
and the trust with it. It was thus found necessary (c. a.p. 70) to ensure 

1 The difference between an English trust and a Roman fideicommissum is rather 
in the practical object and working than in the conception. In both one person 
holds property under an obligation to give another the benefit of it, and ceases to 
hold it on the obligation being completely fulfilled. But a trustee has usually, as 
Morice points out, a continuous duty lasting some time according to the needs of the 
cestui que trust. A fiduciary usually has no duty other than the transference of the 
property to the fidei-commissary on the occurrence of a condition. Both can claim 
to be put to no expense, but a trustee does not benefit as a rule even (at any rate 
since the Intestates’ Estate Act 1884) if the purpose cannot be executed. A 
fiduciary retains the property in such a case for his own account. A fiduciary heir 
could in any case claim under the Falcidian Law. 

Legitim. Children’s rights 83 

that any heir burdened with a trust should get some advantage out of it; 
and accordingly he was empowered, if he entered and accepted the 
liabilities, to retain one-fourth as by the Falcidian statute. Or if he 
suspected the estate to be insolvent, he might restore, as the phrase 
went, the inheritance altogether to the person favoured by the trust and 
be free from both risk and advantage. Otherwise he might indeed take 
his fourth, but would, as partial heir, be liable for his share of the heir’s 
obligations. If however testator had directed him to retain a certain 
thing or a certain amount, which was equal in value at least to one- 
fourth of the inheritance, and restore the rest, he was regarded as a 
legatee and not in any way liable to the creditors of deceased’s estate. 
The risk and difficulty attending heirs did not arise where a trust was 
imposed on a legatee; he was liable for no more than he received; and 
as the validity of the will was not at stake, there was no necessity for the 
law to bribe him to accept by a share of the gift. 

Justinian swept away a mass of distinctions and perplexities by 
putting trusts and legacies in other respects on the same footing, 
giving legacies the flexibility of trusts and fortifying trusts with the 
legal character and effective suits belonging to legacies. The phraseology 
was held to be unimportant, the intention was to prevail. Not only 
the trust but the will and legacies might now be written in Greek. 

When an oral trust was added to a written will, or the will itself 
was oral and contained a trust, and the regular number of witnesses had 
not been present on the occasion, Justinian enacted that if the heir 
denied the trust, the person claiming under it should, having first 
sworn to his own good faith, put the heir on his oath whether he had 
not heard the testator declare the trust: the heir’s answer on oath was 
then decisive. 

Lxerrim. The Statute of the XII Tables authorised, according to 
tradition, full effect to be given to a Roman’s will for the disposal of his 
estate at his death. But a paterfamilias was expected to shew in the 
will that he had duly considered the claims of his children in his power, 
and especially of his sons, they being his natural representatives. He 
must either appoint them heirs or expressly disinherit them, whether 
they were sons by birth or by adoption and even if posthumous. In 
default of such express notice, the will was set aside. Others in his 
family, whether daughters or grandchildren by his sons, had either to be 
appointed heirs or to be disinherited, but general terms were sufficient, 
e.g., © all others are disinherited.” If no notice was taken of them, the will 
was partly broken, for the daughters and grandchildren were admitted 
to share with the appointed heirs. Justinian in 531 abolished the 
Jistinction in these matters between sons and daughters and between 
those in testator’s power and those emancipated, and required express 
notice for all. The praetor had already in practice made the like 

1mendments of the old civil law. 


84 Plaint of unduteous will 

But disinheritance, as well as disregard, of his children imperilled the 
will. As next heirs on an intestacy they could complain to the Court 
that the will failed in the due regard which a sane man would shew 
to his children. This was the “plaint of an unduteous will” (querela 
inofficiosi testamenti). If complainant established his case, the will with 
all its legacies and gifts of freedom drops and intestacy results. To 
establish his case he has to prove three things: that his conduct did not 
justify disinheritance, that he did not get under the will (¢.g., by legacy) 
at least one-fourth of the share of the inheritance to which he would 
have been entitled under an intestacy, and that he had not in any way 
shewn an acceptance of the will as valid. Parents could in the same 
way complain of their children’s wills, and brothers and sisters of the 
testator could complain of his will, if the heirs appointed were disreput- 
able. An illegitimate child could complain of his mother’s will. If 
complainant had judgment given against him, he lost anything given 
him by the will. An analogous complaint was allowed against excessive 
donations which unfairly diminished a child’s or parent’s claim. 

The value of the estate is taken for this purpose as for the Falcidian 
fourth. Justinian in 528 enacted that if complainants had been left 
something but not enough, the deficiency could be supplied without 
otherwise upsetting the will, provided testator had not justly charged 
them with ingratitude. In 536 Justinian raised the share of the 
inheritance which would exclude the plaint to one-third, if there were 
four or fewer children, and to one-half if there were more than four, 
i.e. to one-third or one-half of what would be claimant’s share on an 
intestacy. Thus supposing two children, each would now be entitled to 
one-sixth (instead of one-eighth) of the estate: if three children, to 
one-ninth: if five, to one-tenth, and so on. Such share is called 
«statutory portion ” ( portio legitima) and could be made up either by an 
adequate share of the inheritance, or by legacy, or through a trust, or 
by gift intended for the purpose or by dowry or nuptial gift or 
purchaseable office in the imperial service (mélitia), or a combination 
of such. This statutory portion becomes in French law “egitim,” in 
German “ Pflichttheil.” 

In 542 Justinian put the matter on a new footing by requiring 
children to be actually named as heirs in their father’s or mother’s or 
other ascendant’s will, unless the will alleged as the cause of disherison 
“ingratitude” on one at least of certain grounds, and the heirs prove the 
charge to be true. These grounds are: laying hands on parents, gravely 
insulting them, accusation of crimes (other than crimes against the 
Emperor or the State), associating with practisers of evil acts, attempting 
parent’s life by poison or otherwise, lying with step-mother or father’s 
concubine, informing against parents to their serious cost, refusing, if a 
son, to be surety for an imprisoned parent, hindering his parents from 
making a will, associating with gladiators or actors against his parent’s 

Justinan’s final legislation 85 

wish (unless his parent was such himself), refusing (if a daughter under 
twenty-five years of age) a marriage and dowry proposed by her parent, 
and preferring a shameful life, neglecting to free a parent from captivity, 
neglecting him if insane, refusing the Catholic faith. If ingratitude is 
charged and established, the will is good: if it is not established, the 
appointment of heirs made in the will is null, and all the children share 
the inheritance equally (subject to bringing any marriage settlement into 
hotchpotch), but legacies, trusts, freedoms and guardianships remain 
valid (subject of course to the Falcidian deduction). 

Those who have no children are required to name their parents 
as heirs, unless on similar grounds (a reduced list is given) they can be 
justly omitted. 

Having left to children (or parents) the due amount, a testator or 
testatrix can dispose of the residue at his or her pleasure, and a mother can 
even exclude the father from any management of the property left to the 
son, and, if the son is under age, appoint another manager. Justinian 
further enacted that none but orthodox should take any part of an 
inheritance, and that, if all entitled under a will or on intestacy were 
heterodox, in the case of clerics the Church, in the case of laymen 
the Crown, should inherit. 

Members of a town council (decuriones) had since 535 been obliged, 
if without any children, to leave three-fourths of their estate to the 
council: if they had children, legitimate or illegitimate, three-fourths or 
the whole according to circumstances were to go to such of them as were 
or became members or wives of members of the council. The law 
imposing disability for ingratitude applied here also. 

A patron, if passed over in his freedman’s will, could claim a third 
(free from legacies and trusts) if there were no children except such as 
were justly disinherited. 

SuccEssioN TO AN INTESTATE. In default of a will duly made and 
duly accepted by the heirs named or one of them the law provided heirs. 
The statutable heirs were testator’s lawful children (sui heredes), and 
failing these (in old times), his agnates, failing these, the clan (gens). 
Gradually by the praetor’s action cognates were also admitted, eman- 
cipated children and women other than sisters were no longer excluded, 
other disabilities were removed and mother and children obtained by 
statute reciprocal rights of inheritance. ‘The husband or wife claimed 
only after all blood-relations. This system is found in the Digest, Code, 
and Institutes. But in 543 and 548 Justinian superseded this system 
with its multifarious technicalities and ambiguities, and established (but 
for the orthodox only) a simpler order of succession, which Is the more 
interesting because it largely supplied the frame for the English Statute 
of Distributions for intestate personalty. sit sid 

Justinian disregarded distinctions of sex, of inclusion in or eman- 
cipation from the family, of agnates and cognates, and allowed in certain 


86 Succession to an intestate 

cases the share which would have fallen to a deceased person to be taken 
by his children collectively. 

The first claim to succeed was for descendants. Children (and, in 
default of them, grandchildren) excluded all ascendants and collaterals 
and took equal shares, whether they sprang from the same marriage 
or more than one, and whether the marriage was formed by regular 
settlements or not. A deceased child’s children took his or her share 
among them. Any child who had had from his or her parents dowry or 
nuptial gift had to bring it into account as part of his or her share. If 
a parent was alive and had a right of usufruct in the property or part of 
it, that right remained. 

In the next class, that is, when there is no living descendant, come the 
father and mother and whole brothers and sisters of the deceased. In 
this case the father does not retain any right of usufruct he may have. 
If ascendants, not excluded by nearer ascendants, as well as brothers and 
sisters of the whole blood are found, they all share alike (per capita). If 
a brother or sister has predeceased the intestate, his or her children take 
collectively his or her share. Of ascendants the nearer is preferred. If 
there are only ascendants in the same degree, the estate is divided in 
halves between those on the father’s side and those on the mother’s. 

If there are neither descendants nor ascendants, brothers and sisters 
are preferred, the whole blood excluding the half-blood, even though the 
latter be nearer in degree; therefore a nephew or niece of the whole 
blood excludes brothers and sisters of the half-blood. If there are no 
brothers or sisters or children of such, either of the whole blood, or half- 
blood, other relations succeed according to their degree, the nearer 
excluding the remoter, and those of the same degree sharing per capita. 

Degrees of relationship were reckoned by the number of births from 
the one person to the common ancestor added to the number from him 
to the other person. Thus a nephew or uncle is in the third degree of 
relationship to me, a second cousin is in the sixth, there being three 
births from my great-grandfather to me and three also from him to my 
second cousin. 

After all blood-relations are exhausted, the husband or wife would 
presumably inherit as under the old law before Justinian. A poor 
widow without dowry was entitled to a fourth of her husband’s estate, 
such fourth not exceeding 100 Ibs. gold. 

In the case of freedmen dying intestate, children and other descen- 
dants have first claim: if there are none, then the patron and his 
children (531). 

If presbyters, deacons, monks, or nuns, die without making a will or 
leaving relatives, their goods pass to the church or monastery to which 
they are attached, unless they are freedmen or serfs or decurions, in 
which cases they pass to the patron or lord or council respectively (434). 

In default of any legal claimant the Crown took a deceased’s estate. 

Gifts 87 

Girrs were viewed by Roman Law with considerable suspicion, partly 
as often made on the spur of the moment without due reflection, partly 
as liable to exert an improper influence on the donee. In 3.c. 204 a law 
(Lex Cincia) was passed which forbad all gifts exceeding a certain value, 
and required formal execution of gifts within that value, land to be 
mancipated, goods to be delivered, investments duly transferred, ete. 
Any gifts contravening the law were revocable by the donor during his 
life or by will. Gifts between near relatives, either by blood or 
marriage, were however excepted from the prohibition of the law. 

Constantine appears to have repealed this law, and, leaving gifts 
under 300 solidi free, required all gifts above that amount to be described: 
in a written document and recorded in court, and possession to be given 
publicly before witnesses. In 529-531 Justinian further facilitated gifts. 
A mere agreement was enough without any stipulation, the presence 
of witnesses ceased to be necessary, and the fact of the gift was alone 
required to be recorded in court and that only when its value exceeded 
500 sohdi. Delivery of the object given was, according to Justinian, 
not so much a confirmation as a necessary consequence of the gift, and 
was incumbent on the donor and his heirs, especially if it were a gift for 
charitable purposes. A gift duly made could be revoked by the donor 
only on clear proof of donee’s ingratitude, such as is shewn by insults or 
attacks on the person or property of the donor, or on non-fulfilment of 
the conditions of the gift. Remuneration for a service rendered is not 
a gift within the meaning of these rules. 

Gifts between husband and wife, with trifling exceptions, were 
absolutely void until a.p. 206, and the same rule applied to gifts to 
either from anyone under the same fatherly power, or from those in 
whose power they respectively were. But Caracalla by a decree of the 
Senate made them only voidable. If the donor predeceased the donee and 
did not repent of the gift, the donee became fully entitled. Gifts from 
either to increase the marriage settlement were allowable (see above). 

Gifts mortis causa are only to take effect if the donor die before the 
donee, and are epigrammatically characterised as something which the 
donor prefers himself to enjoy rather than the donee, and the donee 
rather than his heir. Such gifts were valid if made in presence of 
five witnesses orally or in writing, without any formality and with the 
effect of a legacy. The Lew Falcidia was applied to such gifts by 
Severus, if the heir had not had his due out of the rest of donor’s estate. 

Gifts for charitable purposes (piae causae) were encouraged by 
Justinian who (c. 530 and 545) directed that the bishops, whether 
requested or not or even forbidden by testator, should see that any 
disposition by will for such purposes was duly carried into effect; the 
erection of a church should be completed within three years from the 
time when the inheritance or legacy was available, a house for strangers 
within a year unless one was hired until the house was built. If 


88 Charitable gifts (Piae causae) 

this was not done the bishops should take the matter in hand by 
appointing administrators, the heirs or legatees after such default not 
being allowed to interfere. The other charitable purposes specially 
mentioned are houses for aged persons or infants, orphanages, poor- 
hospitals, and redemption of captives. The bishops are to inspect and 
if necessary discharge the administrators, bearing in mind the fear of 
the great God and the fearful day of eternal judgment. All profits 
from the endowment belong from the first to the charity. Delay after 
admonition by the bishops made the heirs or legatees who were charged 
with the charity, liable for double the endowment. Annuities for clergy, 
monks, nuns, or other charitable bodies were not to be commuted for a 
single sum, lest it should be spent and the claims of the future be 
disregarded. The property of the testator was mortgaged for the 
annuity, unless an agreement was made in writing and duly recorded for 
setting aside an inalienable rent, larger than the annuity by at least 
one-fourth and not subject to heavy public dues. If the bishops were 
slack, possibly being corrupted by the heirs, or others, the metropolitan 
or archbishop was authorised to interfere, or any citizen might bring an 
action on the statute and demand the fulfilment of the charity. 

If, in order to avoid the Falcidian Law, a testator leaving all his 
property for the redemption of captives, appoints captives to be his 
heirs, Justinian (531) directed such an appointment to be good and not 
void for uncertainty. The bishop and church-manager (oeconomus) of 
the testator’s domicile had to take up the inheritance without any gain 
for themselves or the Church. Similar appointments of poor as heirs 
are valid, and fall, if left uncertain by testator, to the poor-house of the 
place, or if there are several such to the poorest, or if there be none 
such, the funds are to be distributed to poor beggars or others in the 

Property. ‘The distinctions, which existed under the early Roman 
Law between land in Italy and land in the provinces with a form of 
conveyance (mancipatio)' applicable to the former and not to the latter, 
disappeared before Justinian. Under him full ownership in all land, 
wherever situate, was conveyed by delivery actual or symbolical, in 
accordance with agreement, or at least with the transferor’s intention to 
part with the property. And the same applied to all other corporal 
objects. Such a distinction between real and personal property, between 

* Mancipation was thus: The parties meet in the presence of no less than five 
witnesses, all Roman citizens of the age of puberty or upwards. An additional 
witness called /ibripens, ‘‘ balance-weigher,” holds a bronze balance. The acquirer or 
purchaser holds a piece of bronze as a symbol of the price, and seizing the thing to 
be acquired, for instance, a slave, or clod (as symbol of land), asserts it to be his by 
the law of the Quirites, strikes the balance with the bronze and hands it to the 
other party or vendor. 

Property. Servitudes. Emphyteusis 89 

land and chattels, as is found in English law, never existed with the 
Romans either as to transfer of ownership between the living or in 
succession to the dead. A distinction between movables and immovables 
is found in some matters, e.g., a title to the former being secured by 
acquisition on lawful grounds in good faith and uninterrupted possession 
by the holder and his predecessor in title for three years, whereas title 
to the latter required like acquisition and ten years’ uninterrupted 
possession if claimant lived in the same province as the possessor, or 
twenty years when he lived in a different province. Further protection 
in some cases was given by an additional twenty years’ possession: and 
claims of the Church were by a law of 535 good against one hundred 
years’ adverse possession; but in 541 the period was reduced to forty years. 

Rights in things, as distinguished from ownership, were called srrvi- 
TuDEs and were of two classes, according as the benefit of them was 
attached to persons or to immovables. The principal case of the former 
was usufruct, 7.e., the right of use and enjoyment of profits, corresponding 
in its main incidents to life tenure. A man might have a usufruct in 
lands or houses or slaves or herds and even in consumables. Security 
had to be given to the owner for reasonable treatment and restoration 
im specie or equivalent at the expiry of the usufruct, which was lost not 
only by death but also by loss of civic status: it could not be trans- 
ferred to another person. Minor rights of similar character are bare 
use and habitation. 

The second class of servitudes corresponds to English “ easements.” 
They were limited rights, appurtenant to certain praedia whether farms 
in the country or houses in towns. They secured to the occupier a 
limited control over neighbouring houses or lands, which was necessary 
or at least suitable for the proper use of the dominant farm or house to 
which they were servient. Rights of way, of leading water, of pasturing 
cattle, are instances of country servitudes: rights of light and prospect 
and carrying off water are instances of urban servitudes. They were 
created usually by grant and were lost by non-user for a period of two 
years, which was raised by Justinian to ten or twenty years. Fes 

Empuyreusis, é.¢., plantation. The practice grew up in imperial 
times of tracts of country, in many cases waste land, being held by 
tenants at a fixed rent (usually called canon, vectigal, pensio) on the 
terms that so long as the rent was duly paid the tenant should not be 
disturbed and could transmit the land to his heirs or sell or pledge it. 
The owners were usually the State or the Emperor (who had a private 
domain) or country towns in Italy or in the provinces. The lawyers 
doubted whether to treat this contract as sale or lease. Zeno, about 
480, decreed that it should be regarded as distinct from both, and rest 
upon the written agreement between lord and tenant. By Justinian’s 
edicts the tenant had to pay without demand the public taxes and 
produce the receipts and pay the canon to the lord, who for three (or in 


90 Obligations 

the case of church land, two) years’ default could eject him. If rent 
and receipts were offered and not accepted, the tenant could seal them 
up and deposit them with the public authority and so be safe against 
eviction. If eventually the lord did not take them, the tenant could 
keep them, and pay no more rent till the landlord demanded it, and 
then be liable only for future rents. As regards improvements, in the 
absence of express stipulations, the tenant could not sell them to outsiders, 
until he had offered them to the lord at the price he could get from 
another, and two months had passed without the lord’s accepting. Nor 
could he alienate the farm to any but suitable persons, 7.e., such as were 
allowed generally to hold on this tenure. The lord had to give admission 
to the transferee and certify it by letter in his own hand or by declaration 
before the governor or other public authority, a fee of two per cent. of 
the price being demandable for such consent. 

Edicts of the Emperors were not uncommon, which granted secure 
possession on some such terms to anyone who cultivated waste lands 
and was thus in a position to pay the tax upon them. If the lands had 
been deserted by the owner, he could claim them back only on paying 
the cultivator his expenses: after two years his right was gone. 

Ostications. Besides rights which are good against all the world, 
such as ownership and other rights to particular things, rights good 
only against particular persons form a most important and perhaps the 
most notable part of Roman Law. Such are called obligations and 
arise either from contract or from delict (in English usually called 
“tort”). The detailed classification of these given in the Institutes 
is in many respects artificial and is not found in the other books of 

Conrracts are voluntary agreements between two or more persons. 
The Romans required for an agreement which should be enforceable by 
law some clear basis or ground of obligation. There must be either a 
transfer of some thing from one of the parties to the other, or a strict 
form of words accompanying the agreement, or there must be agreed 
services of one party, usually of both. As the Romans said, the contract 
must be formed aut re aut verbis aut consensu. Otherwise it was a bare 
agreement (nudum pactum), and, though available for defence against a 
claim, it was not enforceable by suit, except so far as it set forth the 
details of one of the regular contracts and was concluded in close 
connexion therewith, or it reaffirmed, by a definite engagement to pay, 
an already existing debt of promiser’s or another ( pecunia constituta). 

It may be convenient to treat first of the most general form. The 
contract made verbis was called “stipulation” and was made by oral 
procedure between the parties present at the same place. The matter 
and details of the agreement being stated, the party intending to acquire 

Verbal obligations. Mutuum 91 
a right said, according to the original practice, Spondesne ? “ Do you 
promise?” to which the other replied, Spondeo, “I promise.” But in 
later time any other suitable words might be used, ¢.¢., Dabisne ? “ Will 
you give?” Dabo, “I will give.” The essential was that the answer 
should not add to or vary the scope and conditions contained in the 
questions: the agreement had to be precise. A record in writing was 
very usual, but not necessary, provided the stipulation could be proved 
by witnesses. The drawback in stipulation, viz., that it required the 
stipulator and promiser to meet, was to some extent removed by the use 
of slaves or children, for they could stipulate (though not promise) on 
behalf of their master or father, and the fact that they were under his 
power made the contract at once his contract. A free person sui juris 
could only stipulate for himself, and thus could not act asa mere channel 
pipe for another. Stipulation however had this great convenience that it 
was applicable to any kind of agreement, and at once elevated a mere 
pactum into a strict, valid contract. The pactum was usually put in writing 
and the fact of its having been confirmed by a stipulation was added to 
the record. If a promise was stated, the law presumed it to be in reply 
to an appropriate question: where consent was recorded, no special 
form of words was necessary (472). A law of Justinian (531) enacted 
that such record should not be disputable, whether the stipulation was 
effected through a slave or by both parties themselves: if it stated that 
the slave had done it, he should be deemed to have belonged to the party 
and to have been present: if it stated the latter, the parties should be 
deemed to have been present in person, unless it was proved by the very 
clearest evidence (Justinian delights in superlatives) that one of the 
parties was not in the town on the day named. 

A very important contract, resting on a transfer of ownership, was 
MUTUUM, #.¢., loan of money or of corn or any other matters (often called 
“fungibles”) in which quantity and not identity is regarded, one sum of 
money being as good as any other equal sum. The lender was entitled 
to recover the same quantity at the agreed time, but had no implied 
right to interest unless the debtor made delay. A loan was therefore 
usually accompanied by a stipulation for interest. Justinian however in 
536 enacted that a mere agreement was enough to secure interest to 
bankers. If no day for payment of a loan was named, the debtor might 
await creditor’s application. Part payment could not be refused. 
Justinian (531) gave to a debtor on loan as in other cases a right to set 
off against a creditor’s claim any debt clearly due from him. 

The rate of mnrerEst was limited by law. In Cicero’s time and 
afterwards it was not to exceed 12 per cent. per annum, Justinian 
forbad illustres to ask more than 4 per cent. per annum. ‘Traders were 
limited to 8 per cent.; other persons to 6 per cent. But interest 
on bottomry might go up to 12 or 124 per cent. (= 4) during the 


92 Interest. Pledge 

voyage. Any excess paid was to be reckoned against the principal debt. 
Compound interest was forbidden altogether by Justinian, and in 
connexion with this the conversion of unpaid interest into principal was 
forbidden. And even simple interest ceased so soon as the amount paid 
equalled the amount of the principal (so Justinian 535). In loans of 
corn, wine, oil, etc., to farmers, Constantine allowed 50 per cent. 
interest; Justinian only 3th (124 per cent.), and for money lent to 
farmers only 1; (= 44). He also forbad the land to be pledged to the 
lender. In action on a judgment four months were allowed for 
payment; after that simple interest at 12 per cent. was allowed. 
Any son under his father’s power was by a senate’s decree of the 
Early Empire (Sc. Macepontanum) disabled from borrowing money. 
Repayment of any money so borrowed could not be enforced against 
either his father or his surety or against himself (if he became 
independent), unless he had recognised the debt by part payment. But 
the decree did not apply, where the creditor had no ground for knowing 
the debtor to be under power, or where a daughter required a dowry, or 
where a student was away from home and borrowed to cover usual or 
necessary expenses. The fact that the borrower was grown up and 
even perhaps in high public office did not prevent the decree’s applying. 
Other contracts made re, involved a transference not of property but 
of possession. Such are commopatuM, gratuitous loan of something 
which is to be returned in specie, and pEvosrrum, transfer of something 
for safekeeping and return on demand or according to agreement. A 
third contract under this head was pignus, which calls for fuller notice. 
SEcuRITY For DEBT, etc. In order to secure a person’s performance of 
an obligation, two means are commonly in use: (1) giving the promisee 
hold over some property of the promiser’s; (2) getting a confirmatory 
promise from another person: in other words, pledge and surety. 
The Romans had three forms of PLEDGE: fiducia, pignus, hypotheca. 
Fiducia was an old form by which the creditor was made owner (for the 
time) of the property: by pignus he is made possessor; by hypotheca he 
is given simply a power of sale in case of default. Fiducta went out of 
use about the fourth century; it was analogous to and probably the 
origin of, our mortgage, the property being duly conveyed to the 
promiser, who could, subject to account, take the profits and on default 
of payment as agreed, could sell and thus reimburse himself. A 
power of sale was usually made by agreement to accompany pignus and 
hypotheca. In pignus it formed an additional mode of compulsion on 
the debtor besides the temporary deprivation of the use of his property : 
in hypotheca it constituted the essence of the security. Pignus was a 
very old form and always continued in use: hypotheca was no doubt 
borrowed from the Greeks, and we first hear of it in Cicero’s time. It had 
the great convenience for the debtor that he could remain in possession 
of the object pledged, and as no physical transfer was required, it could 

Sureties 93 

be applied to all kinds of property, movable and immovable, near or 
distant, specific or general, corporal or incorporeal (such as investments). 
And the creditor was not responsible, as he was in the case of prgnus, for 
the care and safekeeping of the object. In other respects the law which 
applied to the one applied to the other. A written contract was not 
necessary, if the contract could be proved otherwise. 

Tacit pledges were recognised in some cases. Thus the law treated 
as pledged to the lessor for the rent, without any distinct agreement, 
whatever was brought into a house by the lessee with the intention of its 
staying there. A lodger’s things were deemed to be pledged only for his 
own rent. In farms the fruits were held to be pledged, but not other 
things except by agreement. One who supplied money for reconstructing 
a house in Rome had the house thereby pledged to him; and for taxes 
or any debt to the Crown ( fiscus) a person’s whole property was so 
treated: guardians’ and curators’ property is in the same position as 
security to their wards; husband’s as security to the wife for her dowry 
(531); and what an heir gets from testator is security to the legatees 
and trust-heirs ; what a fiduciary legatee gets is security to the legatee, 
by trust. 

Any clause in a pledge-agreement which provided for forfeiture of the 
pledged property in default of due payment of the loan (Lew commissoria) 
was forbidden by Constantine. But the right of sale for non-payment of 
debt was, in the absence of contrary agreement, deemed inherent in 
pledge. It had however to be exercised with due formality after public 
notice and the lapse of two years from the time when formal application 
had been made to the debtor or from the judgment of the Court. ‘Then 
if no sale was effected, the creditor could after further time and fresh 
notice petition the Emperor for permission to retain the thing as 
his own. If the value of the pledge did not equal the amount of the 
debt, the creditor could proceed against the debtor for the balance ; if 
its value was more, the debtor was entitled to the surplus. Where the 
creditor was allowed to retain the thing as his own, Justinian allowed a 
still further period of two years in which the debtor could claim it back 
on payment of the debt and all creditor’s expenses (530). 

Sureties (_fidejussores) were frequently given and were applicable to 
any contract, formal or informal, and even to enforce a merely natural 
obligation, as a debt due from a slave to his master. Sureties were 
bound by stipulation. If there were more than one, each was liable for 
the whole for which the debtor was liable, but Hadrian decided that a 
surety making application for the concession should be sued only for his 
share, provided another surety was solvent. The creditor had the option 
of suing the debtor or one of the sureties, and, if not satisfied, then the 
other; but this was modified by Justinian (535), who enacted that the 
debtor should be first sued if he were there, and that if he were not, 
time should be given to the sureties to fetch him; if he could not be 

CH. IIl. 

94 Women’s guaranty. Purchase and sale 

produced, then the sureties might be sued, and after that, recourse should 
be had to the debtor’s property. If sureties paid, they had a claim on 
the debtor for reimbursement and for the transfer to them of any pledge 
he had given, but could not retain the pledge if debtor offered them 
the amount of debt and interest. A surety’s obligation passed to his heirs. 

If a woman gave a guaranty for another person, even for her husband 
or son or father, so as to make her liable for them, the obligation was 
invalid. But she was not protected, if the obligation was really for herself, 
or if she had deceived the creditor or received compensation for her 
guaranty, or had after two years’ interval given a bond or pledge or 
surety for it. This rule, which dates from the Early Empire (senatus 
consultum Velletanum), was based on the theory that a woman might 
easily be persuaded to give a promise, when she would not make a 
present sacrifice. Accordingly she was not prohibited from making 
gifts. Justinian confirmed and amended the law in 530 by requiring 
for any valid guaranty by a woman a public document with three 
witnesses, and in 556 enacted that no woman be put in prison for debt. 

The class of contracts which arise consENsU, 7.e., by the agreement of 
the parties, without special formalities or transfer of a thing from one to 
the other, is constituted by Purchase and sale, Hire and lease, Partner- 
ship, Mandate. 

PuRCHASE AND SALE (one thing under two names) is complete when 
the parties have agreed on the object and the price, or at least agreed to 
the mode of fixing the price. The agreement may be oral or in writing: 
if the latter, it must be written or subscribed by the parties; and till 
that is done, neither party is bound. Whether the contract is oral or 
written, the intended buyer, if he does not buy, (in the absence of any 
special agreement on the point) forfeits any earnest money he may have 
given, and the vendor, if he refuses to complete, has to repay the earnest 
twofold. (So Justinian 528.) The vendor is bound by the completed 
contract to warrant to the purchaser quiet and lawful possession but is 
not bound to make him owner. He must however, unless otherwise 
agreed, deliver the thing to the purchaser, where it is, and thereby 
transfer all his own right. From the date of completion of the contract, 
though delivery has not taken place, the risk and gain pass to the 
purchaser, but he is not owner until he has paid the price and got 
delivery, and then only if the vendor was owner, or possession for the 
due time has perfected the purchaser’s title. The vendor is liable to the 
purchaser on his covenants (¢.g., in case of buyer’s eviction, for double 
the value), and also for any serious defects which he has not declared and 
of which the purchaser was reasonably ignorant. 

In case of sale of an immovable Diocletian admitted rescission when 
the price was much under the value (285). It was probably Justinian who 

Lease and hire. Partnership 95 

gave generally a claim for rescission whenever the price was less than half 
the real value. This ground of rescission was later called laesio enormis, 
and many attempts were made to extend its application. 

The contract of LEASE AND HIRE is similar in many respects to that of 
purchase and sale. But the lessee, if evicted, has only his claim against 
the lessor on his covenant to guaranty quiet possession, and has no hold 
over the land, if sold by his lessor to another. In letting a farm the 
lessor was bound to put it in good repair and supply necessary stabling 
and plant: and, if landslip or earthquake or an army of locusts or other 
irresistible force does damage, the lessor has to remit proportionably 
the current rent. The like rules held of letting houses, except that plant 
was not provided. 'The lessee had a good claim on the lessor for any 
necessary or useful additions or improvements, and usually could recover 
his expenditure or remove them. He was bound to maintain the leased 
property whether farm or house, and to treat it in a proper manner, 
cultivating the farm in the usual way. He could underlet within the 
limits of his term ; and the law of the fifth century allowed either lessor or 
lessee to throw up the contract within the first year, without any penalty, 
unless such had been agreed on. The usual term of lease was five years, 
at least in Italy and Africa; in Egypt one or three years. 

Contracts for building a house, carriage of goods, training of a 
slave, etc., come under this head, where the locator supplied the site or 
other material. The conductor, who performed the service, was liable 
for negligence. 

PartNersuip is another contract founded on simple agreement, but 
also characterised, like the two last mentioned, by reciprocal services. 
It was in fact an agreement between two or more persons to carry on 
some business together for common account. The contributions of the 
members and their shares in the result were settled by agreement, and 
they were accountable to each other for gains and losses. Like other 
contracts it concerned only the partners: outsiders need know nothing 
of it; in any business with them only the acting partner or partners 
were responsible. A partner’s heir did not become a partner, except 
by a new contract with common consent. A partnership came to an 
end by the death of a partner, or his retirement after due notice, or 
when the business or time agreed came to an end. 

There was no free development of association into larger companies, 
without the express approval of the State. A company continues to 
exist irrespectively of the change or decease of the members, regulates 
its own membership and proceedings, has a common chest and a common 
representative, holds, acquires and alienates its properly as an individual. 
In Rome such corporate character and rights were only gradually 
granted and recognised, each particular privilege being conceded to this 
or that institution or class of institutions as occasion required. 

Towns and other civil communities had common property and a 

CH, IIl. 

96 Companies. Mandate 
common chest, could manumit their slaves and take legacies and inheri- 
tances. They usually acted through a manager; their resolutions 
required a majority of the quorum, which was two-thirds of the whole 
number of councillors (decuriones). They are said corpus habere, “to be 
a body corporate.” 

Other associations for burials or for religious or charitable purposes, 
often combined with social festivities, were allowed to exist with statutes 
of their own making, if not contrary to the general law. But without 
express permission they could not have full corporate rights. Guilds 
or unions of the members of a trade, as bakers, are found with various 
privileges. Such authorised societies or clubs were often called collegia 
or sodalitates. 'They were modelled more or less on civic corporations : 
Marcus Aurelius first granted them permission to manumit their slaves. 

The large companies for farming the taxes (publicant) or working 
gold or silver mines had the rights of a corporation, but probably not so 
far as to exclude individual liability for the debts, if the common chest 
did not suffice. 

Manpate differs from the three other contracts, which are based on 
simple agreement. There are no reciprocal services and no remuneration 
or common profits. It is gratuitous agency: not the agency of a paid 
man of business; that would come under the head of hiring. Nor is it 
like the agency of a slave; that is the use of a chattel by its owner. It 
is the agency of a friend whose good faith, as well as his credit, is at 
stake in the matter. The mandatee is liable to the mandator for due 
performance of the commission he has undertaken, and the mandator is 
liable to him only for the reimbursement of his expenses in the conduct 
of the matter. 

Similar agency but unauthorised, without any contract, was not 
uncommon at Rome, when a friend took it upon himself to manage some 
business for another in the latter’s absence and thereby saved him from 
some loss or even gained him some advantage. The swift process of the 
law courts in early days seems to have produced and justified friendly 
interference by third parties, which required and received legal recogni- 
tion. ‘The person whose affairs had thus been handled had a claim upon 
the interferer for anything thereby gained, and for compensation for any 
loss occasioned by such perhaps really ill-advised action or for negligence 
in the conduct of the business, and was liable to reimburse him for 
expenses, and relieve him of other burdens he might have incurred on the 
absentee’s behalf. Such actions were said to be negotiorum gestorum, 
*‘for business done.” 

But in Rome the usual agent was a slave ; for anything acquired by 
him was thereby tpso facto acquired for his master, and for any debt 
incurred by him his master was liable up to the amount of his slave’s 
peculium; and if the business in question was really for the master’s 
account or done on his order the master was liable in full. And though 

Agency. Equitable interpretation 97 

in general when the master was sued on account of his slave (de peculio) 
he had a right to deduct from the peculium the amount of any debt due 
to himself, he had no such right when he was cognisant of the slave’s 
action and had not forbidden it; he could then only claim rateably 
with other creditors. A son or daughter under power was for these 
purposes in the same position as a slave. 

It was rarely that the Romans allowed a third party who was a 
freeman and independent to be privy to a contract. The freeman 
acquired and became liable for himself, and the principals to the 
contract in case of such an agent had to obtain transfers from him of 
the rights acquired: they could not themselves sue or be sued on the 
agent’s contract. But two cases were regarded by Roman Law as 
exceptional. When a person provided a ship and appointed a skipper 
in charge of it, he was held liable in full for the skipper’s contracts in 
connexion with it, if the person contracting chose to sue him instead of 
the skipper. And the like liability was enforced, if a man had taken a shop 
and appointed a manager over it. In both cases the rule held, whether 
the person appointing or appointed was man or woman, slave or free, 
of age or under age. The restriction of the owner’s liability to the 
amount of his slave’s peculiwm disappeared, and the privity of contract 
was recognised against the appointer, although the skipper or manager 
who actually made the contract was a free person acting as mediary. 
But this recognition was one-sided: the principal did not acquire the 
right of suing on his skipper’s or manager’s contract, if the latter were 
free; he must, usually at least, obtain a transfer of the right of suit from 
him, the transfer being enforced by suing the skipper or manager as 
an employee or mandatee. 

At one time there was a marked difference between the consensual 
contract along with most of those arising re on the one hand, and on the 
other hand stipulation and cash-loan (mutuum). In actions to enforce 
the former the judge had a large discretion, and the standard by which 
he had to guide his decisions or findings was what was fairly to be 
expected from business men dealing with one another in good faith. In 
actions to enforce the latter the terms of the bargain were to be observed 
strictly : the contract was regulated by the words used: the loan was to 
be repaid punctually in full. Gradually these latter contracts came to 
be treated similarly to the former so far as their nature permitted, and 
by Justinian’s time the prevalence of equity was assured : the intention 
of the parties was the universal rule for interpretation of all contracts, 
and reasonable allowance was made for accidental difficulties in their 
execution, when there was no evidence of fraud. 

Two modes were adopted in classical times for dealing with the 
engagements or position of parties where the terms and characteristics of 


©, MED. H. VOL. Ii. OH. III. 

98 Quasi-contracts. Transfer 

a proper contract in due form were not found. One was to treat the 
matter on the analogy of some contract the incidents of which it 
appeared to resemble. ‘Thus money paid on the supposition of a debt, 
which however proved not to have existed, was recoverable, as of it had 
been a loan. Money or anything transferred to another in view of some 
event which did not take place was recoverable, as if paid on a con- 
ditional contract, the condition of which had not been fulfilled. 

Another mode was for the complainant, instead of pleading a 
contract, to set forth the facts of the case and invite judgment on the 
defendant according to the judge’s view of what the equity of the case 
required. Thus barter was not within the legal conception of purchase 
and sale, for that must always imply a price in money, but it had all 
other characteristics of a valid contract and was enforced accordingly 
on a statement of the facts. Ifa work had to be executed for payment 
but the amount of payment was left to be settled afterwards, this was not 
ordinary hire, which is for a definite remuneration, but might well be 
enforced on reasonable terms. 

TransFer oF Ostications. Before leaving contracts, which are the 
largest and most important branch of obligations, it is as well to point 
out that the transfer of an obligation, whether an active obligation, 2.e. 
the right to demand, or a passive obligation, 2.e. the duty to pay or 
perform, is attended with difficulties not found in the transfer of a 
physical object, whether land or chattels. An obligation being a 
relation of two parties with one another only, it seems contrary to its 
nature for 4, who has a claim on B, to insist on payment from C instead; 
or for D to claim for himself B’s payment due to 4. With the consent 
of all parties, the substitution is possible and reasonable, but the 
arrangement for transfer must be such as to secure D in the payment by 
B, and to release B from the payment to 4. Two methods were in use. 
At 4’s bidding D stipulates from B for the debt due to 4: B is thereby 
freed from the debt due to 4 and becomes bound to D. This was called 
by the Romans a novation, ?.e. a renewal of the old debt in another form. 
Similarly 4 would stipulate from C for the debt owed by B to 4. This 
being expressly in lieu of the former debt frees B and binds C. These 
transfers being made by stipulation require the parties to meet. The 
other method was for 4 to appoint D to collect the debt from B and keep 
the proceeds, the suit being carried on in 4’s name, and the form of the 
judgment naming D as the person entitled to receive instead of A. 
Similarly in the other case C would make 4 his representative to get 
in B’s debt. In practice no doubt matters would rarely come to an 
actual suit. The method by representation was till 1873 familiar enough 
in England, a debt being a chose in action and recoverable by transferee 
only by a suit in the name of the transferor. 3 

Gradually from about the third century it became allowable for the 
agent in such cases to bring an analogous action in his own name. 

Delicts. . Lex Aquilia 99 

Deticts. The other important class of obligations besides contracts 
are delicts or torts. They arise from acts which without legal justification 
Injure another’s person or family or property or reputation. Such acts, 
if regarded as likely to be injurious not only to the individual but to 
the community, become subjects for criminal law; if not so regarded, 
are subject for private prosecution and compensation. In many cases 
the injured person had a choice of proceeding against the offender 
criminally or for private compensation. The tendency in imperial times 
was to treat criminally the graver cases, especially when accompanied 
with violence or sacrilege. 

The principal classes of delicts were: theft, wrongful damage, and 
insult (tywriarwm). Theft is taking or handling with a gainful intention 
any movable belonging to another without the owner’s consent actual 
or honestly presumed. Usually the theft is secret: if done with 
violence it is treated with greater severity as robbery (rapina). Any 
use of another’s thing other than he has authorised comes under this 
tort, and not only the thief but anyone giving aid or counsel for a theft, 
is liable for the same. Not only the owner, but anyone responsible for 
safekeeping can sue as well as the owner. The penalty was ordinarily 
twofold the value of the thing stolen, but, if the thief was caught on 
the spot, fourfold the value. If the offence was committed by a slave 
the master could avoid the penalty by surrendering the slave to the 
plaintiff. In early days such a surrender of a son or daughter in their 
father’s power was possible, but probably rare. Robbery was subjected 
to a penalty of fourfold the value. Cattle-driving was usually punished 
criminally. Theft from a man by a son or slave under his power was a 
matter of domestic discipline, not of legal process. Theft by a wife was 
treated as theft, but the name of the suit was softened into an action 
for making away with things (rerwm amotarum). 

Wrongful damage rested even till Justinian’s time on a statute (Lex 
Aquilia) of early republican date which received characteristic treatment 
from lawyers’ interpretations extending and narrowing its scope. It 
embraced damage done whether intentionally or accidentally to any 
slave or animal belonging to another, or indeed to anything, crops, wine 
nets, dress, etc., belonging to another, provided it was done by direct 
physical touch, not in self-defence nor under irresistible force. If the 
damage was caused by defendant but not by corporal touch, the Romans 
resorted to the device of allowing an analogous action by setting forth 
the facts of the case, or by express statement of the analogy. The 
penalty was in case of death assessed at the highest value which the 
slave or animal had within a year preceding the death; in case of 
damage only, the value to the plaintiff within the preceding thirty days. 
But condemnations under this head of wrongful damage did not involve 
the infamy which belonged to theft ; that was purposed, this was often 
the result of mere misfortune. Surrender of a slave who had caused the 


CH. Ill. 

100 Actio injuriarum, Procedure 

damage was allowed to free the defendant as in the case of theft. Damage 
done to a freeman’s own body was hardly within the words of the statute ; 
and compensation could be obtained only by an analogous action. 

The third class was confined to cases of malicious insult but had a very 
wide range. It included blows or any violence to plaintiff or his family, 
abusive language, libellous or scandalous words, indecent soliciting, 
interference with his public or private rights. Not only the actual 
perpetrator of the insult, but anyone who procured its doing, was liable. 
The character of the insult was differently estimated according to the 
rank of the person insulted and the circumstances of the action. The 
damages on conviction were, under a law of Sulla which in principle 
remained till Justinian, assessable by plaintiff subject to the check of 
the judge. Many of these acts, especially when of an aggravated 
character, were punished criminally, even by banishment or death. 

A fourth class of torts (sometimes called quasi ex delicto) makes 
defendant liable not for his own act but for injury caused by anything 
being thrown or falling from a room occupied by him near a right of 
way, or for theft or injury perpetrated in a shop or tavern or stable under 
his control. The penalty is put at double the estimated damage, except 
that, if a freeman is hurt, no estimate of damage to a free body was held 
possible, and the penalty was therefore the amount of medical expenses 
and loss of work: if he was killed, it was put at fifty guineas (awrei). 

Procepure. In classical times the parties after summons approached 
the praetor and asked for the appointment of a judex to hear and decide 
the suit. Instructions proposed by plaintiff and sometimes modified by 
the praetor at the request of the defendant were agreed to by the 
parties, who then joined issue, and the formula containing these instruc- 
tions was sent to the judex named. The judex heard and decided the 
case, and, if he found against the defendant, condemned him in a certain 
sum as damages. But in some few matters the praetor, instead of 
appointing a judex in the ordinary course, kept the whole matter in 
his own hands. This extraordinary procedure became in Diocletian’s 
time the ordinary procedure, and the praefect or the governor of a 
province or the judex appointed by them heard the case from the first 
without any special instructions. In the fourth century the case was 
initiated by a formal notice (itis denuntiatio) to the defendant; but 
in Justinian’s time by plaintiff's presenting to the Court a petition 
(ibellus) containing his claims on the defendant, who was then summoned 
by the judge to answer it. If he did not appear, the judew after further 
summons examined and decided the matter in his absence. 

Hither party before joinder of issue had the right of refusing the 
judex proposed by the governor, ete. Three days were then allowed 
them to choose an arbitrator, and in case of disagreement the governor or 
other authority appointed. Jews’ suits whether relating to their own 

Procedure. Proof 101 

superstition or not could be heard by the ordinary tribunals, but by 
consent they might have the case heard by an arbitrator who was a Jew. 
Soldiers and officials were not exempt from being sued before the civil 
tribunals on ordinary matters. Constantine in a constitution of 333 (if 
genuine) gave either party the right even against the will of the other 
to have the case transferred to the bishop at any stage before final 
judgment. But Arcadius in 398 repealed this and required the consent 
of both parties, so that the bishop was only an arbitrator and his 
Judgment was executed by the ordinary lay officers. 

The judices were to act on the general law, said Justinian (541), and 
during their task were not to expect or accept any special instruction for 
deciding the case. If any application were made to the Emperor, he 
would decide the matter himself and not refer it to any other juder. A 
Judex was authorised, if in doubt about the interpretation of a law, to 
apply to the Emperor. 

No suits excepting those touching the Crown (fiscus), or public trials 
were to be extended beyond three years from the commencement of the 
hearing. When only six months remained of this period, the judex was 
to summon either party, if absent, three times at intervals of ten days, 
and then to examine and decide the matter, the costs being thrown on 
the absentee (531). 

The courts were open all the year, with the exception of harvest 
and wine-gathering (sometimes defined as 24 June to 1 August, and 
23 August to 15 October), also seven days before and after Easter, 
also Sundays, Kalends of January, birthdays of Rome and Constantinople 
birthday and accession of Emperor, Christmas, Epiphany and time of 
commemoration of the “Apostolical passion” (Pentecost). Neither law 
proceedings nor theatrical shows were allowed on Sundays ; but Con- 
stantine exempted farmers from observance of Sundays. No criminal 
trials were held in Lent. 

Private suits and questions of freedom were to be tried at defendant’s 

lace of residence, or of his residence at the date of the contract. So 
Diocletian (293) following the old rule, actor ret forum sequatur. Suits 
in rem or for a fideicommissum or respecting possession should be 
brought where the thing or inheritance is. 

Justin (526) forbad any interference with a burial on the ground of 
a debt due from deceased; and invalidated all payments, pledges and 
sureties obtained in these circumstances. Justinian (542) forbad anyone 
within nine days of a person’s death to sue or otherwise molest any 
of his relatives. Any promise or security obtained during this period 
was invalid. ; 

Proor. The person who puts forth a claim or plea has to prove it. 
The possessor has not to prove his right to possess, but to await proof to 
the contrary. ‘Thus one who is possessed. of freedom can await proof by 
a claimant of his being his slave. But one who has forcibly carried. off 


102 Evidence on oath 

or imprisoned another, whom he claims to be his slave, cannot on the 
ground of this forcible possession throw the burden of proof on his 
opponent. 'To prove a purchase it is not enough to produce a document 
describing the fact, but there must be shewn by witnesses the fact of 
purchase, the price paid, and possession of the object formally given. 
To prove relationship, the fact of birth and the parents’ marriage, or 
adoption by them must be shewn: letters between the parties or appli- 
cation for an arbiter to divide the family inheritance are not sufficient. 

Persons who have admitted a debt in writing cannot prove payment 
without a written receipt, unless they produce five unimpeachable 
witnesses to the payment in their presence. But as a general rule 
they are not bound by a statement in the document of debt of their 
having originally received the money, wholly or partly, if they can 
prove within 30 days after the production of the document that the 
stated money had not been paid them. 

All witnesses must be sworn. One suspected of giving false evidence 
can be put to the question at once, and, if convicted, can be subjected 
by the judge hearing the case to the penalty to which the defendant 
was liable against whom he had given the false evidence. <A single 
witness without other evidence proves nothing, and Constantine enacted 
(334) that he should not be heard in any suit. All persons (enacted 
Justinian 527) with like exceptions as in criminal causes are compellable 
to give evidence. Slaves were sometimes examined under torture. 

No judge was to commence the hearing until he had the Scriptures 
placed before the tribunal, and they were to remain there until judgment. 
All advocates had to take an oath, touching the Gospels, that they would 
do what they could for their clients in truth and justice, and resign 
their case if they found it dishonest (530). Both plaintiff and defendant 
had to take an oath to their belief in the goodness of their cause (531). 

Justinian among other rules respecting documents enacted these : 

All persons are compellable to produce documents who are com- 
pellable to give evidence. The production is to be in the court, at 
the expense of the person requiring it. Anyone declining to produce 
on the ground that he will be injured thereby, must, if this is contested 
by the other party, make oath of his belief and also that it is not any 
bribe or fear or favour of someone else that deters him. 

All documents were to be headed with year of Emperor, consul, 
indiction, month and day. 

Contracts of sale, exchange and gift (if not such as must be 
officially recorded), of earnest and compromise and any others arranged 
to be in writing, were not valid, unless written out fair and subscribed 
by the parties; if written by a notary, he must complete and sign them 
and be present himself at their execution by the parties (528 and 
536). In 538 it was directed that contracts of loan or deposit or 
other should, even when written, have at least three witnesses to their 

Oaths in lieu of proof. Criminal law 103 

completion, and when produced for proof be confirmed by oath of the 

In lieu of proof by witnesses or documents, oaths were sometimes 
resorted to. The judge might propose to one of the parties to support 
his allegation by an oath, and, if the oath was taken, the judge would 
naturally decide that point in his favour. But either party might 
challenge the other, either before trial or in the course of it, to swear 
to some particular matter, and if the party so challenged swore in the 
terms of the challenge, the matter would be held to be decided as much 
as by a judgment, and in any further dispute between the parties or 
their sureties or persons joined with them the oath if relevant.could be 
pleaded or acted on as decisive. And the same result ensues, if the 
party to whom the oath is tendered declares his readiness to swear and 
the other then waives the demand. The party called on to swear may 
instead of taking the oath retort the demand, and the other party is 
then in the same position as if the oath had been originally tendered to 
him. In earlier times probably such tender of oath could be declined 
in most cases without prejudice, but Justinian apparently makes no 
restriction, and a defendant for instance to an action for money lent, 
if plaintiff tendered him an oath whether it was due or not, had no 
choice except either to take the oath or admit the debt, unless indeed 
he retorted the tender. Plaintiff, if he accepted the retort, would have 
first to swear to his own good faith and then could establish his claim 
by the oath. In all cases the oath, if it is to carry the consequence 
stated, must not be volunteered, but taken in reply to the challenge and 
must conform precisely to the terms. 

The requirement of an oath was also resorted to in some cases by 
the judge in order to compel obedience, wrongly refused, to an inter- 
locutory decision. 'The plaintiff was allowed to fix the damages himself, 
by an oath of the amount due. This was called in htem jurare, “to 
swear to the disputed claim.” 

Crrminat Law. The criminal law was put in force either on the 
magistrate’s own initiative or by private persons. Women and soldiers 
were not admitted as accusers, unless the crime was against themselves, 
or their near relatives. Anyone desiring to bring an accusation had to 
specify the date and place of the crime and to give a surety for due 
prosecution. Laws of Constantine, and Arcadius, retained by J ustinian, 
directed that any servant (familiaris) or slave bringing an accusation 
against his master should be at once put to death before any inquiry 
into the case or production of witnesses. And the like was enacted 
(423) in the case of a freedman accusing his patron. Excepted from 
this rule ‘were cases of adultery, high treason and fraud in the tax-return 
(census). An accuser not proving his case was (373) made subject to 
the penalty belonging to the crime charged. A like rule of talion was 
prescribed in some other cases. 


104 Imprisonment. Admissible witnesses 

A law of 320 prescribed that in all cases, whether a private person or 
an official was prosecuting, the trial should take place immediately. If 
accuser were not present or the accused’s accomplices were required, they 
should be sent for at once, and meantime any chains that were put on 
the accused should be long ones, not close-fitting handcuffs; nor should 
he be confined in the inmost and darkest prison but enjoy light, and at 
night, when the guard is doubled, be allowed in the vestibules and more 
healthy parts of the prison. The judge should take care that the 
accusers do not bribe the gaolers to keep the accused back from a 
hearing and starve them: if they do, the officers should be capitally 
punished. The sexes were to be kept apart (340). Justinian in 529 
forbad anyone being imprisoned without an order from the higher 
magistrates, and directed the bishops to examine once a week into the 
cause of imprisonment, and to ascertain whether the prisoners were slave 
or free and whether imprisoned for debt or crime. Debtors were to be 
let out on bail: if they had no bail they were to have a hearing and be 
let out on oath, their property being forfeited if they fled. Freemen 
charged with lesser crimes to be let out on bail, but if the charge were 
capital and no bail was allowed, imprisonment was not to extend beyond 
one year. Slaves to be tried within 20 days. The bishops, as ordered 
by Honorius, had to report any remissness in the magistrates. Private 
prisons were forbidden altogether by Justinian (529). 

The accused was examined by the judge. If a slave was accused, 
torture was sometimes applied to elicit a confession. In republican times 
a freeman was not liable to this. Under the Empire the rule was 
broken, but persons of high rank were exempt, except where the charge 
was treason (majestas) or magical arts. 

The judge could compel anyone to give evidence except bishops and 
high officers and old and sick persons or soldiers or attendants on 
magistrates at a distance. A private accuser had similar powers, but 
for a limited number. Defendant could call witnesses, but had no 
power of compulsion. 

Parents and children were not admissible as witnesses against one 
another, nor were other near relatives; nor freedmen against their 
patron. Slaves were not admissible to give evidence against their 
master, except in cases of treason, adultery or fraud on the revenue. 
As a rule slaves were used as witnesses only in default of others. They 
were examined, and if their statements were not satisfactory, torture was 

If after trial the accused was acquitted, the old practice (retained by 
Justinian) was for the judge to examine into the conduct of the accuser, 
and, if he found no reasonable ground for the accusation, to hold him 
guilty of calumny. For collusion with the accused he might be held 
guilty of prevarication. Nor was an accuser allowed to withdraw from 
an accusation once undertaken, especially if the accused had been long 

Crimes 105 

in prison or had been subjected to blows or chains. But if the accused 
consented or had not been harshly treated, withdrawal (abolitio) was 
generally permitted, except on charges of treason or other grave crimes. 
An accuser, once desisting, could not take the charge up again. 

A general indulgence, by which all persons accused (with certain 
exceptions) were released, was decreed by Constantine in 322 on account 
of the birth of a son to Crispus. In later years the like indulgence was 
granted at Easter, and apparently in 385 it was made a standing rule. 
Persons charged with poisoning, murder, adultery, evil magic, sacrilege 
or treason, and sometimes other offenders, were excepted. 

Most of the legislation on crime goes back to the Republic or to 
Augustus. The law of treason (majestas) is based on a law of the latter. 
Treason consists in doing anything against the Roman people and 
includes all assistance to the enemy, attacks on Roman magistrates, 
intentional injury to the Emperor’s statues, collecting for seditious 
purposes armed men in the city, refusal to leave a province on the 
appointment of a successor, making false entries in public documents, 
etc. Abuse or other insult to the Emperor required careful inquiry as 
to the motive and sanity of the accused; punishment was to await a 
report to the Emperor. If an accuser failed to establish his charge, he 
was liable to be examined by torture himself, notwithstanding any privilege 
from military service, birth or dignity. The punishment for treason 
was death and forfeiture of property. Conspiracy to compass the death 
of the Emperor’s councillors subjected even the sons of the criminal 
to incapacity for succession to any inheritance or legacy, and to be 
reduced to such want that “death would be a comfort and life a 
punishment ” (397). 

By a law of Sulla, maintained and developed by the Emperors, 
murder, magical arts, nocturnal incantations or rites to exert unholy 
influence over persons, desertion to the enemy, stirring up seditions or 
tumult, bribing witnesses or judges to act falsely were punished with 
death in the case of all but the privileged class. So also consulting 
soothsayers (haruspices) or mathematicians respecting the health of the 
Emperor, introduction of new sects or unknown religions to excite men’s 
minds, forgery or suppression of wills, forgery of seals, coining, melting 
or mutilating coinage were sometimes punished capitally. Coining was 
regarded as treason (326). 

Constantine (318) forbad under pain of burning any soothsayer from 
crossing the threshold of another person, even though an old friend, but 
in the case of magical arts distinguished between those directed against 
another’s safety or chastity, and remedies for disease or country spells 
against heat or rain upon the crops. Constantius (358) was also severe 
against all divination, etc. Valentinian (364) forbad all nocturnal 
religious rites, but relaxed this prohibition on the proconsul of Greece 
representing that life then would be intolerable. 


106 Adultery 

Adultery could be charged only by the nearest relatives: husband, 
father, brother, uncle, first cousin. The husband had precedence for 
sixty days, then the father having the woman in his power, then after 
the like time outsiders, who however could not accuse her while married, 
unless the adulterer had first been convicted. iba’ 

A father was justified in killing his daughter (if in his power) if he 
caught her in adultery at his or his son-in-law’s house, and in killing the 
adulterer also, but if he killed one and spared the other, he was liable 
for murder. A husband was justified in killing his wife so caught, but 
the adulterer only if he was a slave or freedman or pander or player or a 
condemned criminal. The husband was otherwise bound to repudiate 
his wife at once. Justinian (542) justified a husband’s killing anyone 
suspected of illicit intercourse with his wife, if, after sending her three 
warnings supported by evidence of trustworthy persons, he found her 
conversing with the adulterer in his own or her house or in taverns or 
suburban places. For making assignations in church the husband after 
like warnings could send both the wife and man to the bishop for 
punishment as adulterers according to the laws. 

A husband who retained a wife detected in adultery, or compounded 
for her release, was guilty of pandering. So also was anyone who married 
a woman convicted of adultery. One accused of adultery and escaping, 
if he consorted with the woman again, was to be seized by any judge and 
without further trial to be tortured and killed. 

By a law of Augustus (Lea Julia) the punishment for adultery was 
banishment, and for the man, forfeiture of half his property, for the 
woman, forfeiture of half her dowry and a third of her property. 
Constantine and Justinian made the punishment death by the sword for 
the man. Justinian (556) sent the woman into a monastery after being 
flogged. The like punishments were ordained for stuprum, i.e., intercourse 
with an unmarried woman or widow, who was neither in the relation of 
concubine nor a person of disreputable life. 

Anyone who without agreement with her parents carried off a girl was 
to be punished capitally, and the girl herself if she consented. A nurse 
who persuaded her to do so was to have her throat and mouth filled 
with molten lead. If the girl did not consent, she was still deprived 
of right of succession to her parents for not having kept within doors or 
raised the neighbours by her cries. The parents, if they overlooked the 
matter, were to be banished: other assistants to be punished capitally, 
slaves to be burnt. So Constantine in 320. Constantius limited the 
penalty of free persons to death (349). Eventually Justinian punished 
ravishers and their aiders with death and confiscated their property for 
the benefit of the injured woman. 

PuNISHMENTS were not the same for all persons. Three classes of 

persons were recognised in Justinian’s Digest: honestiores, humiliores or 
tenurores, servi. 

Punishments 107 

I. The first class contained the imperial senators and their agnatic 
descendants to the third degree ; knights with public horses; soldiers 
and veterans and their children; decurions. They were not liable to the 
penalty of death except for parricide or treason or except by an imperial 
order, nor to the mines or compulsory work or beating. The usual 
penalty was deportation to an island, in some cases combined with 
confiscation of part of their property. Deportation involved loss of 

II. The second class were punished for grave offences by death, 
more frequently by condemnation to the mines preceded by beating and 
accompanied with chains. This punishment was usually for life and 
involved loss of citizenship and property. It formerly involved loss 
of freedom, but this was abolished by Justinian in 542. Banishment 
(relegatio) might be for life or for a time, and citizenship was not 

The death penalty for free persons was usually beheading, in and 
after second century by sword, not axe; rarely, and only for the gravest 
offences, crucifying or burning. Beating or torturing to death, strangling 
and poisoning, were forbidden. 

Justinian in 556 enacted that for crimes involving death or banish- 
ment the property of the criminals should not be confiscated either to 
the judges or officials, or, as according to the old law, to the fisc, but 
should pass to their descendants, or, if there were none, to the ascendants 
up to the third degree. He also enacted that where the law ordered 
both hands or both feet to be cut off, one only should be cut, and that 
joints should not be dislocated. No limb should be cut off for theft, 
if without violence. 

Constantine (318) re-enacted the punishment assigned by old practice 
to parricide, viz., the criminal to be beaten with rods, sewn up in a sack 
with a dog, cock, viper and ape, and thrown into a deep sea, if near, or 
into a river. Justinian retained the law, but confined it to murderers 
of father, mother and grandfather and grandmother, whereas it had 
previously been applicable to many other relatives. 

III. Slaves were punished for grave crime by beheading, sometimes 
by crucifying or burning or exposure to wild beasts: for lesser crimes by 
work in the mines. Flogging was usual in many cases, and regularly 
preceded capital punishment. Imprisonment was not used as a punishment, 
but only as security for trial. a 

Heretics were deprived by Constantine (326) of all privileges given on 
the ground of religion and were forbidden (396) to occupy any place for 
worship. In 407 Manichaeans and Donatists were ordered to be treated 
as criminals; they forfeited all their property to their next of kin (if free 
from heresy) and were incapable of succession, of giving, of buying and 
selling, of contracting, of making a will; their slaves were to be held 
guiltless only if they deserted their masters and served the Catholic Church. 


108 Punishment of heretics 

In 428 Manichaeans were to be expelled from their towns, and given over 
to extreme punishment, and a long list of heretics was forbidden to meet 
and pray anywhere on Roman soil. In 435 Nestorians, in 455 the 
followers of Eutyches and Apollinarius were to have their books burnt, 
and were forbidden to meet and pray. In 527 heretics, Greeks, Jews, 
and Samaritans were rendered incapable of serving in the army, of 
holding civil office except in the lower ranks and then without a chance 
of promotion; and were disabled from suing orthodox Christians for 
private or public debts. Children of heretics, if themselves free from 
the disease, might take their legal share of their father’s property, and 
their fathers were to support them and to give dowries to their daughters. 
In 530 Montanists like other heretics were forbidden to assemble, to 
baptise, to have Communion, and to receive charitable alms from law 
courts or churches. 

In suits against orthodox, whether both parties or only one be 
orthodox, heretics and Jews were not good witnesses, but only in suits 
among themselves. Even this was not applicable to Manichaeans, 
Montanists, pagans, Samaritans and some others; for they being 
criminals were incapable of bearing witness in judicial matters ; they were 
however allowed as witnesses to wills and contracts, lest proof should be 

A law of Augustus, confirming analogous republican practice, forbad 
any Roman citizen who appealed to the Emperor being killed, tortured, 
beaten or put into chains even by the governor or other high magistrate. 
This is retained in Justinian’s Digest. 

Several constitutions at the end of the fourth century (398) were 
directed against attempts of clergy or monks to prevent due execution 
of sentences on criminals or debtors. 




Ar the accession of Clovis, who succeeded his father Childeric about 
the year 481, the Salian Franks had advanced as far as the Somme. 
Between the Somme and the Loire the suzerainty of the Roman Empire 
was still maintained. The various Gallo-Roman cities preserved a certain 
independence, while a Roman official, by name Syagrius, exercised a kind 
of protection over them. Syagrius was the son of Aegidius, the former 
magister militum, and he held the command by hereditary right. After 
the fall of the Roman Empire of the West in 476, he maintained an 
independent position, having no longer any official superior. Failing 
any regular title, Gregory of Tours designates him Rea Romanorum, and 
the former Roman official takes on the character of a barbarian king, 
free from all ties of authority. The seat of his administration was the 
town of Soissons. 

To the south of the Loire began the kingdom of the Visigoths, which 
reached beyond the Pyrenees and across Spain to the Strait of Gibraltar. 
The country south of the Durance, that is to say Provence, also formed 
part of this kingdom. After having long been allies of the Roman Empire 
the Visigoths had broken the treaties which bound them to Rome; more- 
over since 476 there was no emperor in Italy, and they occupied these 
vast territories by right of conquest. Kuric, who had been king 
since 466, had extended his dominions on every side and was quite 

In the valley of the Saéne and the Rhone, as far as the Durance, the 
Burgundians had been enlarging their borders. Starting from Savoy, 
to which Aétius had confined them, they had extended their possessions 
little by little, until these now included the town of Langres. In 481 
the kingship of Burgundy was shared by two brothers, of whom the 
elder, Gundobad, had his seat at Vienne, the younger, Godigisel, at 
Geneva.’ A third brother, Chilperic, who had reigned at Lyons, had 
just died. The rumour ran that he had met a violent death, his brothers 
having had him assassinated in order to seize upon his inheritance. . 

The Visigoths and Burgundians endeavoured to live at peace with 

CH. IV. 

110 Gaul at the Accession of Clovis [481 

the Gallo-Romans and to administer their territories wisely. The former 
subjects of Rome would willingly have submitted to them in exchange 
for the protection which they could afford and the peace which they 
could secure; they would willingly have pardoned them for dividing up 
their territories; but between the Gallo-Romans and the barbarians 
there was one grave subject of dissension. The former had remained 
faithful to orthodoxy, the latter were Arians; and although the rulers 
were willing to exercise toleration and to maintain friendly relations 
with the members of the episcopate, their Gallo-Roman subjects did not 
cease to regard them as abettors of heresy, and to desire their fall as 
a means to the triumph of the true faith. 

To the north of the Burgundian kingdom, the Alemans had made 
themselves masters of the territory between the Rhine and the Vosges— 
the country which was to be known later as Alsace—and they were 
seeking to enlarge their borders by attacking the Gallo-Roman cities to 
the west, the Burgundians to the south, and the Ripuarian Franks to the 
north-west. They also continued to hold the country on the right bank 
of the Rhine which had been known as the agri decwmates, and they had 
established themselves in force upon the shores of the Lake of Constance 
and to the east of the Aar. The Ripuarian Franks remained in possession 
of a compact State round about Cologne and 'Tréves, and, near them, 
the Thuringians had founded a little State on the left bank of the 
Rhine. It should be added that small colonies of barbarians, drawn 
from many different tribes, had established themselves here and there 
over the whole face of Gaul. Bands of armed barbarians ranged the 
country, seeking a home for themselves; Saxon pirates infested the 
coasts, and had established themselves in some force at Bayeux. 

Such was the general condition of Gaul at the time when Clovis 
became king of the Salian Franks. For five years the youthful king— 
he was only fifteen at his accession—remained inactive. He seems to have 
been held in check by Euric, the king of the Visigoths. But in the year 
following the death of Euric, 486, he took up arms and, calling to his 
aid other Salian kings, Ragnachar and Chararic, attacked Syagrius. 
The two armies came into contact with one another in the neighbourhood 
of Soissons. During the battle Chararic held off, awaiting the result of 
the struggle. In spite of this defection Clovis was victorious, and 
Syagrius had to take refuge with the king of the Visigoths, Alaric II, 
who had succeeded Euric. Alaric however surrendered him, on the first 
demand of the Frankish king, who thereupon threw him into prison 
and had him secretly put to death. After this victory Clovis occupied 
the town of Soissons, which thenceforth ranked as one of the capitals of 
the kingdom. It is in the neighbourhood of Soissons that we find the 
principal villae of the Merovingian kings, notably Brennacum (to-day 
Berny-Riviére). From Soissons he extended his sway over the cities of 
Belgica Secunda of which Rheims is the metropolis, and he entered into 

481—496 | Beginnings of Clovis 111 

relations with Remi (Remigius), the bishop of this city. Then, gradually, 
meeting with more or less prolonged resistance, he gained possession of 
other cities, among them Paris—the defence of which was directed, so 
the legend runs, by Ste Geneviéve—and Verdun-sur-Meuse, which is said 
to have received honourable terms, thanks to its bishop, Euspicius. 
Thus, little by little, the dominions of Clovis were extended to the 
banks of the Loire. In this newly conquered territory Clovis followed 
a new policy. In occupying Toxandria the Salians had expelled the 
Gallo-Roman population; here, on the contrary, they left the Gallo- 
Romans undisturbed and were content to mix with them. The ancient 
language held its ground, and the Gallo-Romans retained their pos- 
sessions ; there was not even a division of the lands, such as the Visigoths 
and Burgundians had made. Clovis was no doubt still a pagan, but he 
respected the Christian religion and shewed an extraordinary deference 
towards the bishops—that is the only conclusion that can be drawn from 
the well-known incident of the bowl of Soissons—and the prelates already 
seemed to see before them a glorious work to be accomplished in the 
conversion of Clovis to orthodox Christianity. 

Not content with bringing the Gallo-Romans under his sway, Clovis 
waged war also with the barbarian peoples in the neighbourhood of his 
kingdom. In the year 491 he forced the Thuringians on the left bank 
of the Rhine to submit to him, and enrolled their warriors among his 
own troops. He also invited other barbarian auxiliaries to march under 
his standards—Procopius calls them ’Ap@opvyo.—as well as the Roman 
soldiers who had been placed to guard the frontier, and in this way he 
formed a very strong army. 

The fame of Clovis began to spread abroad. Theodoric, king of the 
Ostrogoths, who had almost completed the conquest of Italy, asked the 
hand of his sister Albofleda in marriage, and Clovis himself, in 493, 
espoused a Burgundian princess, Clotilda, daughter of Chilperic, who 
had died not long before, and niece of the kings Gundobad and 

Clotilda was an orthodox Christian and set herself to convert her 
husband—it would be possible to trace the influence of women in many 
of those great conversions which have had important political con- 
sequences. Half won-over, the king of the Franks allowed his children 
to be baptised, but he hesitated to abjure for himself the faith of his 
ancestors. He did not make up his mind until after his first victory 
over the Alemans. 

After his victory at Soissons, Clovis pushed his advance towards the 
east. The Alemans, already in possession of Alsace, were endeavouring 
to extend their territories towards the west, across the Vosges. It was 
inevitable that the two powers should come into collision. ‘The struggle 
was severe. Clovis succeeded in crossing the Vosges, and, on the banks 
of the Rhine, probably in the neighbourhood of Strassburg, he defeated 

CH. IV. 

112 Conversion of Clovis [ 496-507 

his adversaries in a bloody battle (a.v. 496), but was unable to reduce 
them to subjection. He began to perceive at this time what strength 
he would gain by embracing Christianity. The bishops, who exercised 
a very powerful influence, would everywhere declare for him, and would 
support him in his struggles with the heathen tribes, and even against 
the barbarians who adhered to the Arian heresy. His wars would then 
assume the character of wars of religion—crusades, to use the term of 
later times. It was doubtless from such considerations of policy, rather 
than from any profound conviction, that he decided to be baptised. 
The ceremony, to which numerous persons of note were invited, took 
place at Rheims, whatever some modern historians may say to the 
contrary. It was celebrated on Christmas day of the year 496. Three 
thousand Franks went to the font along with their king. This conversion 
produced a profound and widespread impression. Throughout the 
whole of Gaul, in the kingdom of the Burgundians as well as that of 
the Visigoths, orthodox Christians spoke of it with enthusiasm. Avitus, 
bishop of Vienne, a subject of King Gundobad, wrote to Clovis, king of 
the Franks: “ Your ancestors have opened the way for you to a great 
destiny; your decision will open the way to a yet greater for your 
descendants. Your faith is our victory.” And he urged him in emphatic 
language to propagate Catholicism among the barbarian peoples in 
more distant lands, ‘which have not yet been corrupted by heretical 
doctrines.” It was quite evident that if the Catholics of the Burgundian 
and Visigothic kingdoms did not precisely summon Clovis to their aid, 
they would at least not resist him if he came of his own motion. 

Accordingly, four years after his baptism, in the year 500, Clovis 
commenced operations against the Burgundians, Coming to an under- 
standing with Godigisel, he made war on Gundobad, king of Vienne. He 
first defeated him near Dijon, and then advanced along the Rhone as far 
as Avignon. But that was the limit of his success. On Gundobad’s 
promising to pay tribute, Clovis retired. Gundobad, however, not only 
broke his word, but attacked his brother Godigisel, slew him in a church 
in Vienne and made himself master of the whole of Burgundy. Thus 
the attack of Clovis had the consequence of making Gundobad stronger 
than before. From the year 500 onwards Burgundy enjoyed a period 
of prosperity, It was at this period that the so-called Lea Gundobada and 
the Roman law of Burgundy were promulgated. Clovis, not being able 
to subdue Gundobad, notwithstanding the secret support of the orthodox 
clergy, came to terms with him, and later found him a useful ally in the 
war with the Visigoths. 

If Clovis did not push home his success against the Burgundians, it 
was doubtless because his own kingdom was menaced by the Alemans. 
About this time, therefore, he decided to expel that nation-from the 
territories which they occupied; and from 505 to 507 he waged against 
them a war of extermination, He not only seized the country afterwards 

500-507] Wars with Burgundians and Visigoths 113 
ee eee 
aig as Alsace, but pursued the Alemans up the right bank of the 

ine and drove them to take refuge in the valley of the upper Rhine 
(Rhaetia). At this point Theodoric the Great, the king of the Ostro- 
goths, intervened in favour of the vanquished. Theodoric desired to 
exercise a kind of hegemony over the barbarian kings and with that 
view to maintain the balance of power among them. He wrote an 
eloquent letter to Clovis, in which, while sending him a player on the 
cither, he begged him to spare the remnant of the Alemans, and 
declared that he took them under his protection. The Alemans, who 
were now occupying the high valleys of the Alps, thus passed under the 
dominion of Theodoric, and paid tribute to him. They formed a kind 
of buffer-State between the kingdoms of the Franks and the Ostrogoths. 
We shall see how Witigis, a successor of Theodoric, gave up these 
remnants of the Alemans to the Franks (536). 

As early as 507 Clovis was bending all his energies to the project of 
wresting from the Visigoths the part of Gaul which they held. The 
orthodox bishops were now tired of being subject to Arian rulers, and 
besought the aid of the king of the Franks. Alaric II, who had 
succeeded Euric in 486, was undoubtedly a tolerant ruler. He gave to 
the Romans of his dominions an important code of law which is known 
by the name of the Breviarium Alarici; and he allowed the bishops 
more than once to meet in councils. But being obliged to take severe 
measures against certain bishops, he was counted a persecutor. ‘Thus, 
two successive bishops of Tours, Volusianus and Verus, were driven from 
that see, Ruricius of Limoges was obliged to live in exile at Bordeaux ; 
and all these bickerings made the bishops long for an orthodox ruler. 
Causes of contention between Franks and Visigoths were not lacking. 
One difficulty after another arose between the two neighbouring king- 
doms. In vain the kings endeavoured to remove them, meeting for this 
purpose on an island in the Loire near Amboise; in vain Theodoric 
the Great wrote urging the adversaries to compose their quarrel. He 
advised Alaric to be prudent and not to stake the fate of his kingdom 
upon a throw of the dice. He reminded Clovis that the issue of a 
battle was always uncertain, and threatened to intervene himself if the 
king of the Franks proceeded to extremities. He invited Gundobad 
the king of the Burgundians to co-operate with him in maintaining 
peace. He warned three kings who held the right bank of the Rhine— 
the kings of the Herulians, the Warnians and the Thuringians—of the 
ambitions of Clovis. It was too late; the war could not be averted. 
Beyond question, Clovis was the aggressor. He mustered his troops 
and made a vigorous speech to them. “It grieves me that these 
Arians should hold a part of Gaul. Let us march, with the help of 
God, and reduce their country to subjection.” He had with him 
Chloderic, son of Sigebert, king of the Ripuarian Franks, while 
Gundobad king of the Burgundians co-operated by advancing upon the 

C, MED. H. VOL, II. CH. IV. 8 

114 Battle of Vouglé [507-508 

Visigoths from the east. The decisive battle took place at Vougleé, in 
the neighbourhood of Poitiers (4.p. 507). The Visigoths made a heroic 
resistance, in which the Arvernians, led by Apollinaris the son of the 
poet Sidonius, especially distinguished themselves. But the F ranks 
broke down all resistance, and Clovis slew Alaric with his own hand. 

After the battle the Salians effected a junction with the Burgundians, 
and the combined forces advanced on Toulouse and burned that city. 
Then the conquerors divided their troops into three armies. Clovis 
subjugated the western part of the country, capturing Eauze, Bazas, 
Bordeaux and Angouléme ; his son 'Theodoric (Thierry) operated in the 
central region, and took the cities of Albi, Rodez and Auvergne; 
Gundobad advanced towards the east, into Septimania, where a bastard 
son of Alaric II named Gisalic had just had himself proclaimed king, 
ousting the legitimate son, Amalaric. Soon there remained to the 
Visigoths, to the north of the Pyrenees, nothing but Provence, with its 
capital Arles, formerly the residence of the Praetorian Praefect and 
known as the “little Rome of Gaul” (Gallula Roma). The Franks and 
Burgundians had laid siege to this city when the army of the Ostrogoths 
came upon the scene. ‘Theodoric had been unable to intervene earlier, 
for at the beginning of 508 a Byzantine fleet, perhaps at the instigation 
of Clovis, had landed a force on the shores of Apulia, and the king 
of the Ostrogoths had had to turn his attention thither. At length, 
in the summer, he sent an army across the Alps, and its arrival 
forced the Franks and Burgundians to raise the siege of Arles. _ His 
troops occupied the whole of Provence, but instead of restoring this 
territory to the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths kept it for themselves, 
Theodoric sent officials to the cities of Provence with orders to treat in 
a conciliatory fashion this people which had been “restored to the bosom 
of the Roman Empire.” The Ostrogoths did not however content 
themselves with this success, Their general Ibbas retook Septimania 
from the Franks and Burgundians, capturing Narbonne, Carcassonne 
and Nimes. He left this territory, however, under the rule of Amalaric 
and rid him of his rival Gisalic. Communication was thus established 
along the coast of the Mediterranean between the kingdoms of the 
Ostrogoths and Visigoths. 

Nevertheless Clovis gained considerable advantage from the war. If 
Septimania had eluded his grasp, he had extended his kingdom from 
the Loire to the Pyrenees. Gundobad alone obtained no profit from 
the struggle. 

Clovis treated with clemency the Gallo-Roman populations whom he 
had just brought under his dominion. He ordered all clergy, widows, 
and serfs of the Church, who had been made prisoners by his troops 
during the campaign, to be set at liberty. There was no new distribution 
of lands. ‘The Arians, indeed, were required to embrace the orthodox 
faith, but even their conversion was effected rather by persuasion 

508 | Clovis at Tours and at Paris 115 

than by force. The Arian clergy were allowed to resume their rank 
in the hierarchy after a reconciliation by laying on of hands. Their 
churches were not destroyed, but after reconsecration were made over to 
the use of the orthodox. 

On his way back from the war, Clovis in 508 visited the town of 
‘Tours, where he made large gifts to the monastery of St Martin. At 
Tours he received from the Emperor of the East, Anastasius, the patent 
of consular rank. He was not entitled consul, and his name would be 
sought in vain in the consular records; he was an honorary consul, 
tanquam consul, as Gregory of Tours quite accurately expresses it. 
He at once assumed the insignia of the consulship, with the purple 
tunic and mantle of the same colour, and, starting from the church of 
St Martin, he made a solemn entry into the town of Tours, and 
proceeded to the cathedral of St Gatien, scattering largess as he went. 
Clovis was evidently proud of this new honour, which was a proof of 
the Emperor’s friendship—perhaps he had come to an agreement with 
the Emperor directed against Theodoric—but his investiture with the 
consulship gave him no new authority. His rights were those of 
conquest; they were not dependent on the sanction of the Emperor, 
and he continued to govern the Gallo-Romans after 508 as he had 
governed them before it. If he wore the Roman insignia at his entry 
into Tours, he continued to wear also the crown characteristic of 
barbarian kings, and along with the title of honorary consul—translated 
in a prologue to the Salic law by Proconsul—he assumed that of 

From Tours, Clovis proceeded to Paris where he now established the 
seat of his government. ‘The town was admirably situated, lying on an 
island in the Seine, at a point about the middle of its course, and not 
far from the points at which it receives its two great confluents, the 
Marne and the Oise; well placed also for communication with the 
northern plain, and with the south of France by way of the Gap of 
Poitou. Already the town had overflowed to the left bank, and there 
Clovis built a basilica dedicated to the Holy Apostles. This was later 
the church of Ste Genevieve, close to what is now the Panthéon. In the 
neighbourhood of Paris there sprang up a number of royal villae, 
Clichy, Rueil, Nogent-sur-Marne, Bonneuil. 

Clovis had won great victories; but there were still some Salian 
tribes which were ruled over by their own kings, and round about 
Cologne lay the kingdom of the Ripuarian Franks. By a series 
of assassinations Clovis got rid of the Salian kings, | Chararic 
and Ragnachar, and the two brothers of the latter, Richar and 
Rignomer—the former killed near Mans—and took possession of their 
territories. The details which have come down to us of the assassination 
of these petty kings are legendary, but that they were murdered would 
appear to be the fact. There remained the kingdom of the Ripuarians. 

CH. IV. 8—2 

116 The Sons of Clovis [508-558 

Clovis stirred up Chloderic against his father Sigebert the Lame and 
then presented himself to the Ripuarians in the character of the 
avenger of Sigebert. The Ripuarians hailed him with acclamations and 
accepted him as their king: “Thus day by day God brought low his 
enemies before him, so that they submitted to him, and increased his 
kingdom, because he walked before Him with an upright heart and did 
that which was pleasing in His sight.” Such is the singular reflection 
which closes the narrative of all these murders. Gregory of Tours 
reproduces it, borrowing it from some traditional source, and the bishop 
does not seem to have been conscious how singular it was?. 

Clovis died in the year 511, after holding at Orleans a council at 
which a great number of the bishops of his kingdom were assembled. 
He had accomplished a really great work. He had conquered nearly 
the whole of Gaul, excepting the kingdom of Burgundy, Provence and 
Septimania. By subjugating the Alemans he had extended his authority 
even to the other side of the Rhine. He had governed this kingdom 
wisely, relying chiefly on the episcopate for support. He had codified 
the customary law of the Salian Franks—it is from his reign, between 
the years 508 and 511, that the first redaction of the Salic law is in all 
probability to be dated. He may be called with justice the founder of 
the French nation. 

The Merovingians regarded the kingdom as a family inheritance, the 
sons dividing their father’s dominions into portions as nearly equal as 
possible. This was now done by the sons of Clovis, Theodoric (Thierry), 
Clodomir, Childebert and Chlotar. Each of them took a share of their 
father’s original kingdom to the north of the Loire, and another share 
from among his more recent conquests to the south of that river. As 
their capitals, they chose respectively Rheims, Orleans, Paris and 
Soissons. Each of the four brothers, urged by covetousness, sought to 
increase his portion at the expense of his neighbour, and they carried on 
a contest of intrigue and chicanery. On the death of Clodomir in 524, 
Childebert and Chlotar murdered his children in order to divide his 
kingdom between themselves. Two other families were also doomed to 
extinction. Theodoric died in 534, leaving a very able son Theudibert, 
the most remarkable among the kings of that period, but he died 
in 548, and his young son Theodebald fell a victim to precocious 
debauchery in 555. Childebert died in 558 and of all the descendants 
of Clovis there now remained only Chlotar I. He fell heir to the whole 
of the Merovingian dominions, and his power was apparently very 
great. His son Chramnus rebelled against him and fled to Chonober, 
count of Brittany, but the father mustered his forces and defeated 

* Greg. Tur. 1. 40: Prosternebat enim cotidie Deus hostes ejus sub manu ipsius. 
Loebell, Giesebrecht and others take enim in the sense of but, as is not uncommon 
in Gregory. In this case the writer will be marking his disapproval of the murders. 
God prospered the orthodox king notwithstanding his crimes. 

517-561} Conquest of the Burgundian Kingdom in { 

him—“ like another Absalom,” says Gregory of Tours. Chlotar had 
him shut up in a hut with his wife and children, and caused it to be 
set on fire. Afterwards, however, he was overwhelmed with remorse. 
In vain he sought peace for his soul at the tomb of St Martin of Tours. 
Struck down by disease he died at his palace of Compiegne, his last 
words being: ‘What think ye of the King of Heaven who thus overthrows 
the kings of earth?” His surviving sons buried him with great pomp 
in the basilica of St Médard at Soissons (561). 

In spite of the fact that during the greater part of this period the 
kingdom was divided into four parts, it was still regarded as a unity : 
there was only one Frankish kingdom, regnum Francorum. The sons 
of Clovis had a common task to accomplish in the carrying on of their 
father’s work and the completion of the conquest of Gaul. In this they 
did not fail. Clovis’ expedition against the Burgundians in 500 had 
miscarried ; his sons subjugated that kingdom. Sigismund the son of 
Gundobad had been converted to the orthodox faith; he restored the 
great monastery of Agaunum in the Valais, on the spot where St Maurice 
and his comrades of the Theban legion were slain. He reformed the 
Church at the great Council of Epaéne in 517, where very severe 
measures were adopted against the Arian heresy. But it was now too 
late. Sigismund failed to win over the orthodox and he provoked a 
lively discontent among the Burgundian warriors. The sons of Clovis 
were not slow to profit by this. Clodomir, Childebert and Chlotar 
invaded Burgundy in 523, defeated Sigismund in a pitched battle and 
took him prisoner. He was handed over, with his wife and children, 
to Clodomir, who had them thrown into a well at St Péravy-la- 
Colombe near Orleans. And while the Franks were invading the 
kingdom of Burgundy from the north, Theodoric king of the Ostrogoths, 
resenting Sigismund’s zeal against Arianism, had sent troops from 
Provence and captured several strong-places to the north of the 
Durance: Avignon, Cavaillon, Carpentras, Orange and Vaison. Bur- 
gundy however regained some strength under the rule of a brother 
of Sigismund named Godomar, who defeated and slew Clodomir on 
25 June 524, at Vézéronce near Vienne. He endeavoured to re- 
establish some order in his dominions at the assembly of Ambérieux, 
and his kingdom was thus enabled to prolong its existence until the year 
534. At that date Childebert, Chlotar and Theudibert seized Burgundy 
and divided it between them, each one taking a portion of the country 
and adding it to his dominions. The kingdom of the Burgundians 
had existed for nearly a century, not without a certain brilliance. A 
great legislative work had been accomplished, and among them we 
find a historian in Marius of Aventicum and a poet in Avitus, whom 
Milton was to recall in his Paradise Lost}. For long Burgundy formed 

1 Guizot in his Histoire de la Civilisation en France, Vol. u. lect. xviii., cites some 
parallels tending to shew that Milton was acquainted with the poem of Avitus on 

CH. IV. 

118 Conquest of Provence [536 

a separate division of the Frankish kingdom, and perhaps even to-day it 
is possible to recognise among the dwellers on the banks of the Sa6one 
and the Rhone certain moral and physical characteristics of the ancient 
Burgundians seven and a half feet in height, hard-workers but loving 
pleasure and good wine, and fond of letting their tongues run freely and 
without reserve. 

The sons of Clovis also annexed Provence and the cities to the north 
of the Durance which the Ostrogoths had occupied. Witigis, who was 
defending himself with difficulty against the Byzantines, offered them 
these territories as the price of their neutrality, if they would refrain 
from siding with Justinian. The Frankish kings divided up Provence 
(586) as they had divided up Burgundy. They were now masters of the 
ancient Phocaean colony of Marseilles, with the whole coast-line; at 
Arles, the old Roman capital of Gaul, they presided over the games in the 
amphitheatre. Along with Provence, Witigis transferred to the Franks 
the suzerainty over the Alemans who in 506 had taken refuge in 
Rhaetia. From this time forward the Franks were masters of the whole 
of ancient Gaul, with the exception of Septimania which continued to 
be held by the Visigoths. Time after time did the sons of Clovis 
attempt to wrest this country from them, but all their expeditions 
failed for one reason or another. Septimania continued to be united to 
Spain and shared the fortunes of that country, passing along with it 
under the domination of the Arabs. It was not until the reign of Pepin 
that this fair region was incorporated with France. 

But if the kingdom of the Franks had on the whole been greatly 
extended, in one quarter the limits of their dominion had been curtailed. 
In the course of the sixth century some of the Kelts, driven out of Great 
Britain by the Anglo-Saxon invasions, themselves invaded the Armorican 
peninsula, which like the rest of Gaul had been completely Romanised. 
“They embarked with loud lamentations, and, as the wind swelled their 
sails, they cried with the Psalmist ‘Lord, Thou hast delivered us like 
sheep to the slaughter, and hast scattered us among the nations.’” 
Arriving in small separate companies they gained a foothold at the 
western extremity of the peninsula. Gradually establishing themselves 
among the original population, before long they ousted it, pushing it 
further towards the east. The aspect of the Armorican peninsula 
underwent a rapid change; it lost its earlier name and became known 
as Brittany, after its new inhabitants. In the western districts the 
Romanic language disappeared entirely and Keltic took its place; and 
special saints with unfamiliar names were there held in honour, St Brieuc, 
St Tutwal, St Malo, St Judicaél. The Britons were divided into three 
groups, of which each one had its own chief; round about Vannes was 

the early ages of the world, of which the first three books, De Origine Mundi, 

De Peccato Originali and De Sententia Dei, form, as he says, a kind of Paradise 

531—561 | Further Frankish Conquests 119 

the Bro-Waroch, so called from the name of one of the chiefs; the 
group of Cornovii, coming from Cornwall, established itself in the 
east ; to the north, from Brest harbour to the river Couesnon extended 
the Domnonée, the inhabitants of which were natives of Devon. No 
doubt these various chiefs recognised in theory the suzerainty of the 
Frankish kings, but they were not appointed by the latter, and were 
in fact independent. The western extremity of France, the ancient 
Armorica, was thus separate from the rest of the country ; and similarly, 
between the Gironde and the Pyrenees, the Basques, who belonged to a 
distinct race and spoke a peculiar dialect, maintained their independence 
under the rule of their dukes. 

Such was the state of the Frankish kingdom proper; but, under the 
sons of Clovis, Frankish influence extended even over the neighbouring 
countries. They came in contact with various Germanic peoples and 
imposed their suzerainty on some of them. Clovis himself had subjugated 
the Alemans ; Theodebald his great-grandson entered into relations with 
the Bavarians beyond the Lech. Theodoric (Thierry) and Chlotar made 
war on the Thuringians and destroyed their independence (531). It was 
from Thuringia that Chlotar took his wife, Radegund, who left him in 
order to found the famous convent of Ste Croix, at Poitiers. Chlotar 
even made war upon the Saxons, who inhabited the great plain of northern 
Germany, and imposed upon them a yearly tribute of 500 cows. Spain 
and Italy, too, witnessed the warlike exploits of these Frankish princes. 
From an expedition against Saragossa in 542 Childebert brought back 
the tunic of St Vincent, and in honour of this relic he founded at the 
gates of Paris the monastery of St Vincent, later known as St Germain- 
des-Prés. 'Theudibert made several incursions into Italy. Sometimes 
posing as a friend of the Ostrogoths, at others as a friend of the 
Byzantines, he plundered some of the wealthy cities and amassed large 
spoils. He even made himself master for a time of Liguria, Emilia and 
Venetia, and had coins minted at Bologna. Indignant because the 
Emperor added to his titles that of Francicus, he even thought of 
penetrating by way of the valley of the Danube into Thrace, and of 
appearing in arms before Constantinople. He addressed to Justinian a 
haughty letter, which has come down to us. So far these sons of Clovis 
still bear themselves like kings. ‘They had achieved the conquest of 
Gaul up to the frontiers assigned by nature to that country; they had also 
turned their arms against Germany, the country of their origin, and had 
opened up in that direction the pathway of civilisation. Like the ancient 
Gauls whom they supplanted, they had descended upon Italy, where their 
incursions created widespread consternation. 

To all this the epoch of the grandsons of Clovis presents a striking 
contrast. he vigorous expansion of the Franks was checked. They 
failed to wrest Septimania from the Visigoths and make Gaul a united 
whole. No doubt they made several expeditions against the Lombards 

CH. IV. 

120 The Grandsons of Clovis [561-575 

of Italy, but these were merely plundering-raids ; there were no further 
conquests. The Merovingians began to turn their warlike ardour against 
each other; there follows a miserable period of civil war. 

Of the four sons of Chlotar I—Charibert, Guntram, Sigebert and 
Chilperic—who divided their father’s kingdom in 561, Charibert the 
king of Paris early disappeared from the scene, dying in 567. Sigebert 
king of Metz and Chilperic king of Soissons were bitterly jealous of 
one another, each constantly endeavouring to filch some fragment of 
the other’s territory. Between these two Guntram king of Orleans 
and Burgundy adopted a waiting attitude, in order to maintain the 
balance of power, and giving his aid at the opportune moment to the 
weaker side to prevent it from being crushed. The rivalry of the two 
brothers was intensified by that of their wives, which gives to these 
struggles a peculiarly ruthless character. Sigebert, whose morals were 
more respectable than those of his brothers, had sent an embassy to 
Toledo to the king of the Visigoths, Athanagild, to ask the hand of 
his daughter Brunhild (Brunehaut) in marriage. Brunhild renounced 
Arianism, professed the Trinitarian faith, and brought to her husband 
a very large dowry. The marriage was celebrated at Metz with great 
magnificence. The young poet Fortunatus also, who had just left his 
home at Treviso, indited an epithalamium in grandiloquent lines into 
which he dragged all the divinities of Olympus. The new queen was 
perhaps the only person present who understood these eulogies, for she 
had been brilliantly educated and spoke Latin excellently. At the half- 
barbarous court of Sigebert she made a profound impression. The news 
of this marriage fired Chilperic with envy. He had espoused a somewhat 
insignificant woman named Audovera, and had afterwards repudiated her 
in order to live in low debauchery with a serving-woman named Fredegund. 
But after the marriage of Sigebert, he asked of Athanagild the hand of 
the latter’s eldest daughter, Galswintha. The king of the Visigoths did 
not dare to refuse. Galswintha came to Soissons, and at first her husband 
loved her much “ because she had brought great treasures.” Before long 
however he went back to his mistress, and one morning Galswintha was 
found strangled in her bed. Very shortly afterwards the king married 
Fredegund, and ordered the execution of his first wife Audovera. In 
this way arose a bitter quarrel between Fredegund and Brunhild, the 
latter burning to avenge her sister; and it may well be conceived that a 
peculiarly vindictive and relentless character was thus imparted to the 
civil war. Almost at the beginning of the struggle Sigebert met his 
death. He had defeated Chilperic, had conquered the greater part of 
his kingdom and compelled him to shut himself up in Tournai; he was 
about to be raised on the shield and proclaimed king at Vitry not far 
from Arras, when two slaves sent by Fredegund struck him down with 
poisoned daggers (scramasaai) (575). 

The actors left upon the scene, from that time forward, were Chilperic 

561-584 | Chilperic 121 

who was now to get back his kingdom, and Brunhild who, after being 
held prisoner for a time, succeeded after the most romantic adventures in 
escaping from Rouen and reaching Austrasia, where her son, Childebert II 
(still a child), had been proclaimed king. 

Chilperic is the very type of a Merovingian despot. He had two 
dominant passions, ambition and greed of gold. He desired to extend his 
kingdom, he wished to accumulate treasure. He ground down his people 
with taxes and caused a new assessment to be made. Many of his subjects 
refused to submit to this increase of taxation, preferring to leave the 
country and seek an easier life elsewhere. In his capacity as judge he 
imposed especially heavy fines upon the rich as a means of confiscating 
their property. He was envious of the great possessions of the Church, 
complaining that “Our treasury is empty, all our wealth has passed over 
to the churches ; the bishops alone reign, our power is gone, it has been 
transferred to the bishops of the cities.” He therefore pronounced void 
all wills made in favour of the churches, he even revoked the gifts which 
his father had left to them. He sold the bishoprics to the highest bidder, 
and in his reign very few of the clergy attained to the episcopate ; rich 
laymen purchased the priestly office and passed in one day through the 
various grades of orders. He was at once avaricious and debauched, 
gourmand and cruel. He delighted in low amours and he made a god 
of his belly. At the foot of his edicts he inscribes this formula: 
“Whosoever sets at nought our order shall have his eyes put out.” 

But with all this he was a man of original ideas. He desired that, 
contrary to the strict provisions of the Salic law, women should in 
certain cases be allowed to inherit land. He was no less ready to 
attack religious dogma than ancient custom. He did not believe that 
it is necessary to distinguish three Persons in God; he scoffed at the 
anthropomorphic designations, the Father and the Son, as applied to the 
Deity. He issued an edict forbidding the Trinity to be named in 
prayer—the name God was alone to be used. Orthography as well as 
dogma must bow to his decree. He added to the alphabet four letters, 
borrowed from the Greek, to represent the long 0, the “voiceless” th, 
the @ and the w. It was not the Germanic sounds which he wished to 
represent more exactly: Chilperic despised the Germanic tongue, and 
his reform was intended to apply to the Latin. He directed that children 
were to be taught by the new methods; in ancient manuscripts the 
writing was to be erased and reinserted with the additional letters. ‘This 
barbarian king was a devoted admirer of the Roman civilisation ; he com- 
posed poems in the manner of Sedulius, and wrote hymns which he also 
set to music. His scepticism regarding the Trinity did not prevent him 
from being superstitious: he believed in portents, in relics, in sorcerers. 
He fancied himself able to outwit the Deity. Having sworn, for instance, 
not to enter Paris without the consent of his brothers, he broke the 
compact, but to avert misfortune he had a number of the bones of various 

CH. IV. 

122 Brunhild in Austrasia [575-587 

saints carried in front of his troops. He was a fantastical and violent 
man, of a strange and complex character ; and it is no very flagrant 
calumny when Gregory of Tours calls him the Nero and the Herod of 
his time. From all these characteristics it can well be imagined that the 
struggle which he carried on against Brunhild and her son was fierce 
and merciless. 

He wrested from them a number of towns, among them Poitiers 
and Tours, and it was thus that Gregory became, to his intense 
disgust, the subject of this debauched monarch, with whom he was 
constantly at odds. It may well be supposed that Chilperic had stirred 
up much wrath and many enmities and it is not surprising that he 
died by violence. One day as he was returning from Chelles where he 
had been hunting, a man came close to him and stabbed him twice with 
a dagger (584). Who his assassin actually was, remained unknown. 

While Chilperic succeeded in imposing his authority upon the 
western Franks in the territories which formed the most recent 
Frankish conquests—known a little later as Neustria, from the word 
niust “the newest ”—Brunhild made strenuous efforts to preserve intact 
all the prerogatives of the royal power in the eastern region, Austrasia. 
Exceedingly ambitious, eager to secure her authority by every possible 
means, it was she who in the name of her son Childebert II (575-596) 
actually held the reins of power. The great men of the kingdom 
threw themselves into an embittered struggle against her. Supported 
by Chilperic and Neustria they refused to give obedience to a woman 
and a foreigner. Ursio, Bertefried, Guntram-Boso and duke Rauching 
placed themselves at their head and attacked the adherents of the royal 
house, chief among whom was Lupus of Champagne. Brunhild tried in 
vain to separate the combatants; the rebels answered brutally, “ Woman, 
get you gone, let it suffice you to have ruled during your husband’s life- 
time ; now it is your son who reigns and it is not under your protection 
but under ours that the kingdom is placed. Get you hence, or we shall 
trample you under the hoofs of our horses.” By vigorous action, how- 
ever, the queen succeeded in re-establishing order. She formed an alliance 
with Guntram king of Burgundy, who at Pompierre adopted his nephew 
Childebert and recognised him as his heir (577). The pact was renewed 
ten years later at Andelot (28 November 587). Brunhild got rid of 
the most turbulent of her nobles by the aid of the assassin’s knife; 
and she suppressed the revolt of Gundobald, a bastard son of Chlotar I, 
whom the nobles had brought back from Constantinople to set up in 
opposition to Guntram and Childebert. Besieged in the little town of 
Comminges situated in a valley of the Pyrenees, Gundobald was forced to 
surrender, and a Frankish count dashed out his brains with a great stone 
(585). Finally Brunhild besieged Ursio and Bertefried in a strong castle 
in Woévre. The former perished in the flames of the burning castle ; 
the latter took refuge at Verdun in the chapel of the bishop Agericus, 

584-613 | Death of Brunhild 123 

but the soldiers tore up the roofing and killed him with the tiles (587). 
Thus, thanks to the inflexible determination of Brunhild, the Austrasian 
aristocracy was vanquished. ‘The queen also succeeded in baffling all 
the plots devised against her and Childebert II by Fredegund, who since 
584 had governed Neustria in the name of her infant son Chlotar II. 
She succeeded so well that when Guntram died on 28 March 593, 
Childebert was able to enter upon his heritage without the slightest 
opposition. And when Childebert in turn was carried off by disease 
while still young, Brunhild’s authority was uncontested. | Childebert’s 
two sons Theodebert and Theodoric divided his kingdom between them, 
the former taking Austrasia, and the latter, Burgundy. In reality their 
grandmother Brunhild continued to rule in their name. Her authority 
extended over both Austrasia and Burgundy and she imposed the same 
measures upon both countries. The aristocracy, lay and ecclesiastical, 
were obliged to conform to her laws. Regarding the royal authority 
as a trust on behalf of her grandsons, she was determined on leaving it 
to them intact. She had the satisfaction of seeing her rival Fredegund 
die in 597; and her grandsons on several occasions defeated Chlotar II, 
who lost the greater part of his territories. 

But the great nobles of Austrasia rose in wrath against her, and 
Theodebert himself repudiated her tutelage. The incensed Brunhild 
withdrew to Burgundy, where she continued to rule. There she broke 
down all resistance, had the patrician Egila put to death, exiled Didier, 
bishop of Vienne, nominated her followers to every post of emolument, 
and levied the taxes with the utmost rigour. But she knew that the 
Burgundian rebels were encouraged by those of Austrasia. It was in 
Austrasia that she must strike the decisive blow, and in her thirst for 
power she did not hesitate to set Theodoric against Theodebert and so 
to provoke a fratricidal struggle. The king of Austrasia was defeated 
on the banks of the Moselle, in the neighbourhood of Toul, taken to 
Ziilpich and there put to death. Brunhild was now triumphant, but 
just in the moment of her triumph her grandson Theodoric died (613) 
in his palace of Metz, at the age of twenty-seven. Breaking with the 
Merovingian tradition of dividing the kingdom, Brunhild caused the 
eldest son to be declared sole king, in the hope of reigning in his name. 
But all the living forces of Austrasia banded themselves together to 
oppose her ambition. Arnulf, bishop of Metz, and Pepin, the two 
founders of the Carolingian family, appealed to Chlotar II the son of 
Fredegund. Brunhild made a magnificent effort to stand up against 
the storm, but she found herself deserted on all hands, and was taken 
prisoner on the shores of the Lake of Neuchatel. Her great-grandsons 
were killed, or at any rate disappear from history. Brunhild herself 
was tortured for three days, set upon a camel as a mark of derision, 
and then tied by her hair, one arm, and one foot, to the tail of a vicious 
horse, which was then lashed to fury. 

CH. IV. 

124 Chlotar II sole King [ 614-629 

Brunhild is undoubtedly the most forceful figure of this period, 
and it would be a gross injustice to put her on the same footing with 
Fredegund. It is true she was exceedingly ambitious and eager for 
power, but she attempted by means of this power to carry out a policy. 
She upheld with unrivalled energy the rights of the king against the 
aristocracy. She treated the Church with firmness but with respect, 
made gifts to the bishoprics and built a number of abbeys. She entered 
into relations with Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) who addressed 
to her a large number of letters, sent her relics, and requested her to 
take under her protection the estates of the Church of Rome which lay 
in Gaul. He urged her to reform the Frankish Church, to call councils 
and to protect Augustine and his companions who were going across the 
Channel to carry the Gospel to the pagan Anglo-Saxons. But while 
maintaining these relations Brunhild knew how to control the Frankish 
Church, as she did the lay aristocracy. She disposed of the episcopal 
sees at her pleasure, and expelled from his monastery of Luxeuil the 
abbot Columbanus who had refused to obey her orders. In short in all 
her conduct Brunhild displayed the qualities of a great statesman. 

After Brunhild’s death Chlotar II found himself, as Clovis had 
done before him, sole master of the whole of Gaul. But how different 
are the two periods! Clovis had been strong in his recent victories, 
victories due to his own courage and political ability. Chlotar II owed 
his success not to himself but to the treason of the Austrasian and 
Burgundian nobles, whom he was consequently obliged to conciliate. 
In his constitution of 18 October 614, as well as in a praeceptio of 
which the date is unknown, he had to make large concessions to the 
aristocracy. He proclaimed, under certain restrictions, freedom of 
episcopal elections, extended the competence of the ecclesiastical courts, 
and promised to respect wills made by private persons in favour of 
the Church. He suppressed unjust taxes and pledged himself to choose 
the counts from the districts they were to administer, which was equiva- 
lent to making over this important office to the landed aristocracy. 
Moreover Chlotar was forced to accord a measure of independence to 
Austrasia and Burgundy; each of these countries had its own Mayor 
of the Palace, who was as much the representative of the interests of 
the local nobles as of those of the king. In 623 he was even obliged 
to give the Austrasians a king in his young son Dagobert. In the 
latter’s name, Arnulf, bishop of Metz, and Pepin, the Mayor of the 
Palace, exercised the actual authority. Thus ancient Gaul became once 
more distinctly divided into three kingdoms: Neustria, Burgundy and 
Austrasia, having each a distinct character and a separate administra- 
tion. Already within these kingdoms the local officials, strong in 
the possession of vast estates, were endeavouring to usurp the royal 

prerogatives: already these three kingdoms were being parcelled out 
into seigniories. 

629-639 | Reign of Dagobert 125 

Chlotar II’s son Dagobert (629-639), however, was still a king in 
something more than name. Although he had a brother Charibert he 
succeeded in reigning alone over the whole Frankish kingdom. He even 
subjected it to the authority of a single Mayor of the Palace, by name 
Aega. He made royal progresses through Austrasia, through Neustria 
and through Burgundy, sitting in judgment each day, and doing strict 
Justice without respect of persons. In Aquitaine he left to his brother 
Charibert the administration of the counties of Toulouse, Cahors, Agen, 
Périgueux and Saintes, thus making him a kind of warden of the marches 
on the Basque frontier. But on the death of Charibert in 632, he took 
over the government of this district also—and up to about 670 Aquitaine 
remained under the rule of the Frankish kings. After that date it 
broke away, and the local nobles founded independent dynasties. 

Dagobert caused many estates which had been usurped by the 
seigniors and the Church to be restored to the royal domain. He kept 
up a luxurious court, which gave, it must be said, anything but a good 
example in regard to morals. He was a patron of the arts and took 
great delight in the rich examples of goldsmith’s work produced by his 
treasurer Eligius (Eloi), whom he afterwards appointed bishop of Noyon. 
Many abbeys were founded in his reign. ‘There was a revival of missionary 
activity, too, and St Amandus preached the Gospel to the Basques in 
the south and to the inhabitants of Flanders and Hainault in the north. 
Throughout the whole of the kingdom the royal authority was para- 
mount. ‘The duke of the Basques came to court to swear allegiance, 
and Judicaél, chief of the Domnonée, was seen at the royal residence at 
Clichy. Dagobert intervened not unsuccessfully in the affairs of the 
Visigoths in Spain, and in those of the Lombards in Italy. He had 
also relations with the Empire of Constantinople, taking an oath of 
perpetual peace with Heraclius in 631; and the two rulers took 
concerted action against the Bulgarian and Slavonic tribes who raided 
by turns the Byzantine Empire and the regions of Germany which were 
under the suzerainty of the Franks. Towards the close of his life, 
in 634, Dagobert was obliged to give to the Austrasians a king of their 
own in the person of his eldest son Sigebert. Ansegis, son of Arnulf 
and of a daughter of Pepin, was appointed Mayor of the Palace and 
governed in the name of this child in conjunction with Cunibert, bishop 
of Cologne. In spite of this, when Dagobert died (19 January 639), 
in his villa at Kpinay, men held him to have been a very great prince. 
And his fame was to grow still greater owing to the contrast between 
his reign and the period which followed it. 

This new period, which extends from 639 to 751, is marked by the 
lamentable decadence of the Merovingian race. It is with justice that 
the sovereigns who then reigned are known as the rois fainéants. It 
was a dynasty of children; they died at the age of 23, Q4 or 25, worn 
out by precocious debauchery. They were fathers at sixteen, fifteen and 

CH. IV. 

126 The fainéant Kings [ 639-751 

even at fourteen years, and their children were miserable weaklings. As 
kings they had only the semblance of power; they remained shut up in 
their villae surrounded by great luxury. Only at long intervals did 
they go forth, in chariots drawn by oxen. The real authority was 
thenceforth exercised by the Mayor of the Palace, or by the different 
mayors who were at the head of the three kingdoms, Neustria, Burgundy 
and Austrasia, whose separateness became more clearly marked. The 
mayors made and unmade the kings as interest or caprice prompted ; 
sometimes they exiled them, only to recall them later. Apocryphal 
Merovingians were often produced who had no connexion with the 
sacred race. It is useless to make any further reference to these 
sovereigns, who were nothing but shadows and whose names serve only 
to date charters. The historian must direct his attention exclusively to 
the Mayors of the Palace. 

«Among these mayors the most distinguished were those of Austrasia. 
They were to make the office hereditary in their family and to found 
a powerful dynasty which was destined gradually to supplant the 
Merovingians. The two founders of that dynasty were, as has already 
been said, Arnulf, bishop of Metz, and Pepin, who had been Mayor 
of the Palace to the youthful Dagobert when the latter was king 
of Austrasia only. Both were men of distinguished piety. Arnulf 
ruled the city of Metz wisely and effected important reforms in the 
Church. Pepin destined his daughters for the cloister; one of them, 
Gertrude, founded the abbey of Nivelle in the district now known as 
Brabant. In this neighbourhood is situated the estate of Landen; 
whence the designation “of Landen” by which Pepin is distinguished 
in later documents. Arnulf’s son Ansegis, who was Mayor of the Palace 
to the young Sigebert, married a daughter of Pepin whom the chronicles 
later call Begga; of this marriage was born the second Pepin, known to 
historians as Pepin of Heristal. 

At first however it seemed probable that the chief representative of 
the family would be Pepin of Landen’s own son Grimoald. For thirteen 
years, from 643 to 656, he held the office of Mayor of the Palace in 
Austrasia, while Sigebert continued to bear the title of king. On the 
death of that prince Grimoald considered himself strong enough to 
attempt a revolution. He had the locks of Dagobert, the young son 
of Sigebert, shorn, sent him to an Irish monastery, and had his own 
son proclaimed king of Austrasia. But the times were not yet ripe for 
a change of this kind. The Austrasian nobles refused to obey a youth 
who was not of the blood royal. They rose in revolt and gave up the 
Mayor of the Palace to the king of Neustria, Clovis II, who had him 
put to death. 

After this tragic event the families of Arnulf and Pepin remained in 
the background for about twenty-five years. The stage of politics was 
occupied by two men named Ebroin and Leodegar (Léger) who engaged 

670—-687 | Battle of Tertry 127 
in a desperate rivalry. Ebroin, Mayor of the Palace in Neustria, was 
intent on maintaining, for his own advantage, the unity of the Frankish 
kingdom and exercising a commanding influence in Austrasia and 
Burgundy as well as in Neustria. His schemes failed first in Austrasia 
where he had to acknowledge a king and a Mayor of the Palace, 
Wulfoald by name. In Burgundy Leodegar, bishop of Autun, placed 
himself at the head of the nobles. He was at first successful and 
shut up his rival in the monastery of Luxeuil (670). The principle 
was accepted that each country was to keep its own laws and customs, 
that no official was to be sent from one country to another, that no one 
should aspire to absolute power, and that the post of Mayor of the 
Palace should be held by each of the great men in turn. But Ebroin 
was to take a signal vengeance. Escaping from Luxeuil, he besieged 
Leodegar in Autun, and captured the town and the bishop with it. After 
the lapse of a considerable time he caused the prelate to be put to 
death. The Church revered Leodegar as a saint, and many monasteries 
were dedicated to him. Ebroin remained master of Burgundy and 
Neustria until at length, in 681, he fell by the dagger of an assassin. 

But in the later portion of his life Ebroin had encountered an 
obstinate resistance in Austrasia; and now the second Pepin appears 
upon the scene. In Austrasia his authority was almost absolute, and 
after the death of Ebroin he kept himself fully informed regarding the 
affairs of Neustria and plotted against the successive Mayors of the 
Palace in that country. Finally he took the field against the mayor 
Berthar, and gained a decisive victory over him at Tertry on the 
Omignon in the neighbourhood of St Quentin (687). Many historians 
have represented this battle as a victory of the Germans of the east over 
the Gallo-Romans of the west and have seen in Pepin II’s expedition 
something in the nature of a second Germanic invasion. But in point 
of fact there were many Germans in Neustria, while a large part of 
Austrasia was occupied by Gallo-Romans. In its capital, Metz, the 
Latin tongue—now in process of transformation into the lingua o- 
mana—was alone spoken. ‘The victory of Pepin over Berthar is rather 
a victory of the aristocracy over the Merovingian royal house; and in 
fact Pepin was to find many supporters among the Neustrian nobles. 
Pepin, having won the victory, now proceeded to set up again, for 
his own advantage, the power which he had overthrown; in fact, 
this battle marks the fall of the Merovingians and the real accession 
of the new dynasty, which, from its most illustrious representative, 
Charles the Great, was to be known as the Carolingian. Some chronicles 
have this entry: “In the year 687 Pepin began to reign.” 

The reign of Pepin over this Merovingian kingdom which he had 
succeeded in reuniting was not lacking in brilliance. He defeated the 
Frisians, dispossessed them of a portion of their territory, and caused 
Christianity to be preached among them. In this last work he found 


128 Charles Martel Mayor of the Palace [714-741 

a valuable auxiliary in the Anglo-Saxon Willibrord. Born on the banks 
of the Humber, Willibrord had gone to Rome to have his mission 
sanctioned by Pope Sergius I; for the Anglo-Saxons, who had been 
converted to Christianity by the missionaries of Pope Gregory I, shewed 
their gratitude by attaching to the papal see the barbarian peoples 
whom they evangelised. Willibrord founded the see of Utrecht and 
pointed out the way which Boniface was to follow later on. Pepin also 
wished to make the Germans on the right bank of the Rhine, who 
during the recent period of anarchy had cast off their allegiance, 
recognise again the suzerainty of the Franks. He subjugated the 
Alemans, and he established once more a member of the noble family 
of the Agilolfings in the duchy of Bavaria. It was at this period 
that the church of Salzburg was founded by St Rupert; and about the 
same time Kilian preached the Gospel in Franconia on the banks of the 
Main. Pepin protected all these missionaries and cherished the project 
of assembling councils to reform the Church. From 687 till his death 
in 714 Pepin II was undisputed master of the whole of Gaul, with the 
exception of Aquitaine, which alone maintained an independent position. 

Pepin II had appointed one grandson (Theodebald) as Mayor of the 
Palace in Neustria, two others (Arnulf and Hugo)—all under the 
regency of his widow Plectrude—in Austrasia. But the great men 
refused to fall in with this arrangement and there ensued a period of 
anarchy. Charles, an illegitimate son of Pepin, restored order, and was 
the real executor of his father’s policy. His name signifies valiant, 
bold, and as the continuator of Fredegar remarks, the name fitted the 
man. He wrested the power from Plectrude and took the title of 
Mayor of the Palace in his nephew’s stead. He defeated the Neustrians 
at Ambleve near Liége (716), at Vincy near Cambrai (717), and again 
at Soissons, in 719, and forced them to recognise his authority. He 
made himself master of Burgundy also, and appointed his own leudes 
to the countships and bishoprics of that country. In Aquitaine the 
duke, Eudo, who had his seat at Toulouse, exercised an independent 
authority ; but Charles obliged him in 719 to acknowledge, at least in 
name, the suzerainty of the northern Franks. Charles had thus acquired 
great power, and during some years he even governed without a king. 
His official title remained the same, Mayor of the Palace, but he was 
already called, even by his contemporaries, princeps or subregulus. He 
presided over the royal court of justice, issued decrees in his own name 
and had the disposal of every appointment, lay and ecclesiastical; he 
summoned the assembly of the great men of the kingdom, decided 
questions of peace and war and held the command of the army. He was 
king in fact if not in name. 

Charles was now to save from a serious danger the realm which 
he had reunited. The Arabs had conquered Spain in 711; in 720 
they had crossed the Pyrenees and seized Septimania, which was a 

732-739 | Battle of Tours (Poitiers) 129 

dependency of the kingdom of the Visigoths. Using this as a base they 
had invaded Gaul. Eudo, duke of Aquitaine, had succeeded, by his able 
policy, in holding them in check for some years, but in 732 a new wali 
or governor ‘Abd-ar-Rahman, belonging to a sect of extreme fanatics, 
resumed the offensive. Eudo was vanquished on the banks of the 
Garonne, Bordeaux was taken and its churches burnt, and the Arabs 
then advanced, by way of the Gap of Poitiers, towards the north. Poitiers 
resisted their attack, but the basilica of St Hilary, situated outside the 
walls, was burnt. Without halting, ‘Abd-ar-Rahman continued his 
march on Tours, the resting-place of the body of St Martin, which was, 
as it were, the religious capital of Gaul. Eudo besought the aid of 
Charles, who hurried up and posted himself at the junction of the Clain 
and the Vienne. The two armies halted, facing one another, for seven 
days. Then, on an October Saturday of 732—exactly a hundred years 
after the death of Mahomet—the battle was joined, and Charles came 
off victorious. ‘Abd-ar-Rahman was slain on the field. This battle 
became extremely celebrated and it is chiefly on account of it that later 
chronicles give to Charles the surname of T'udites or Martellus (Charles 

The day of Poitiers marks the turning-point in the fortunes of the 
Arabs. Harassed during their retirement by Eudo and his Aquitanians, 
they met with defeat after defeat. But to crown all, at this moment 
internal dissensions broke out within the Arab Empire. The Ma‘ddites 
regained the ascendancy at the expense of their enemies the Yemenites, 
but the Berbers in Africa refused to obey the new rulers and rose in 
revolt. The Arabs, occupied with the suppression of this rebellion, were 
thenceforth unable to throw powerful armies into Gaul. 

Charles proceeded to take the offensive against the Muslims. In 
737 he wrested from them the town of Avignon which they had seized, 
and then attempted the conquest of Septimania, but in spite of strenuous 
efforts he was unable to effect the capture of Narbonne. He had to 
content himself with laying waste the country systematically and 
destroying the fortifications of Agde, Béziers and Maguelonne. He set 
fire to the amphitheatre at Nimes, and the marks of the fire are still 
visible. In 739, the Arabs having attempted a new descent on 
Provence and even threatened Italy, Charles marched against them once 
more and drove them out. He allied himself against them with 
Liutprand, king of the Lombards, who adopted the Frankish ruler 
according to the Germanic custom. . 

Charles also completed the subjugation of the barbarian tribes ot 
Germany. He abolished the duchy of Alemannia, intervened in the 
affairs of Bavaria, made expeditions into Saxony and even, in 738, 
compelled some of the Saxon tribes to pay tribute. He gave a 
safe-conduct to Boniface who preached Christianity in Thuringia, in 
Alemannia and in Bavaria, and constantly befriended the devoted 

Cc. MED. H. VOL. II. CH. IV. 

130 Embassy of Gregory III [739-741 

Anglo-Saxon missionaries. Boniface, like Willibrord, went to Rome to 
receive investiture, and the Pope conferred on him successively the titles 
of missionary, bishop, and archbishop. It may have been Boniface who 
brought the papal see into relations with the Carolingians. 

The circumstances were as follows. Liutprand king of the Lombards 
was anxious to impose his authority on the dukes of Spoleto and Bene- 
vento and to wrest from the Byzantine Empire its last remaining 
possessions in Italy. He first attacked and defeated Thrasamund, duke 
of Spoleto, who thereupon took refuge at Rome. Liutprand demanded 
from Pope Gregory III the surrender of Thrasamund, and on Gregory’s 
refusal he laid siege to the Eternal City. The Pope, in distress, sent an 
embassy to Charles, consisting of the bishop Anastasius and a priest 
named Sergius, to implore him to deliver the people of Rome from the 
Lombard oppression. By these ambassadors he sent to Charles ‘“ the 
keys of the Confession of St Peter,” portions of the chains of the Prince 
of the Apostles and various magnificent gifts. The “keys” were a kind 
of decoration which the pontiffs were accustomed to confer on illustrious 
personages, while the chains were supposed to have miraculous virtues. 
This embassy impressed the imagination of contemporaries, and the 
continuator of Fredegar lays much stress on it. In return for the help 
which he implored Gregory III offered to renounce the imperial suzerainty 
and to confer upon the Mayor of the Palace a certain authority over 
Rome, with the title of Roman Consul. Gregory III seems to have had 
a kind of intuition of the great historic change which was afterwards 
to take place when the popes were to turn away from the Emperor of 
Byzantium and attach themselves to the king of the Franks. Charles 
gave the papal envoys a cordial reception (739) and showered gifts upon 
the Pope, sending them by the hands of Grimo, abbot of Corbie, and 
Sigebert, a monk of St Denis. But that was all. He could not take 
sides against Liutprand who had been his ally against the Arabs. In 
vain did Gregory write to him in 740 two imploring letters: “I adjure 
thee in the name of the true and living God, and by the keys of St 
Peter’s Confession which I sent thee, not to prefer the friendship of a 
king of the Lombards to that of the Prince of the Apostles, but to come 
quickly to our aid.” Charles turned a deaf ear to this new appeal, and 
both he and the Pope died not long after. 

When he felt his end approaching, Charles divided the kingdom 
between his sons as if he had been sole master of it. The eldest, 
Carloman, received Austrasia, Alemannia and Thuringia, with the 
suzerainty of Bavaria; the younger, Pepin, had for his share Neustria, 
Burgundy and Provence, with the suzerainty of Aquitaine. Not long 
afterwards (22 October 741), Charles died at Quierzy-sur-Oise and 
was buried at St Denis. His grandson, Charles the Great, bore his 
name and closely resembled him in character; he inherited his great 
vigour and martial ardour, but he had a higher conception of his 

741-751 | Pepin becomes King 131 

political duty and a wider outlook upon life. In the chansons de geste 
the two personages were afterwards confused. 

Charles’ sons, Carloman and Pepin, rendered some service to France. 
They defeated Hunald duke of Aquitaine, the successor of Eudo, and 
when Hunald had retired to a monastery in the fle de Rhé they defeated 
his son Waifar also. They took from the Alemans the last vestiges 
of their independence. They forced Odilo duke of Bavaria to give up 
to them a portion of his territories—doubtless the Nordgau—and obliged 
him to acknowledge their suzerainty. They made a series of incursions 
into Saxony. But the two brothers were not to govern jointly for long. 
In 747 came an unexpected change. Carloman, fired by religious zeal, 
relinquished his throne in order to become a monk. At Rome, which 
was more and more coming to be considered the capital of Western 
Europe, he received the priestly vestments from Pope Zachary, and 
founded on Mount Soracte a monastery dedicated to St Sylvester, a 
name full of significance since at that time the legend was widely current 
of the Emperor Constantine’s “donation of Italy” to Pope Sylvester. 
Carloman had children, whom he had committed to the care of his 
brother; but Pepin gradually got them out of the way and drew all 
authority into his own hands. 

Pepin, now sole Mayor of the Palace, from this time forward aimed 
still higher. He desired the title of king. For two years a profound 
peace had reigned—et quievit terra a proelis annis duobus, says the 
chronicler, borrowing the expression from the Book of Joshua. The 
moment seemed propitious for the decisive step. Pepin proceeded with 
great caution. He was especially desirous of securing the approval 
of the highest moral authority of the age. He sent to Pope Zachary 
an embassy consisting of Fulrad, abbot of St Denis, and Burchard, 
bishop of Worms, a disciple of St Boniface, and laid before him a question 
regarding the kings who still nominally held the royal authority. The 
Pope replied that it would be better that he should be king who held 
the reality of power rather than he who only possessed the semblance 
of royalty. Pope Zachary gave a written decision—auctoritas—to that 
effect. Armed with this authoritative pronouncement Pepin called 
together at Soissons in November 751 an assembly of the Franks. 
There he was unanimously chosen king ; unlike the Merovingians, there- 
fore, he held his throne by right of election. But besides this he had 
himself, like the Anglo-Saxon kings, consecrated by the bishops, and it 
may safely be conjectured that St Boniface presided at the ceremony. 
In virtue of this anointing, Pepin, king by election, became also king 
“by the Grace of God.” King Childeric was shut up in the monastery 
of St Bertin, and the manner of his death is unknown. The Merovingian 
dynasty was ended: a new period opened in the history of France. 

CH. IV. 





Havine narrated in the previous chapter the events of the Mero- 
vingian period, we have now to explain what were the institutions of 
that period, to shew the nature of the constitution and organisation 
of the Church and describe the various classes of society. 

There is one very important general question which arises in regard 
to the Merovingian institutions. According to certain historians of 
the Roman school, the Roman institutions were retained after the oc- 
cupation of Gaul under Clovis. The Merovingian officials, according to 
these writers, answer to the former Roman officials, the Mayor of the 
Palace, for instance, representing the former praepositus sacri cubiculi ; 
the powers of the king were those formerly exercised by the Roman 
Emperor ; the Germans brought no new institutions into Gaul; after much 
destruction they adopted the Roman. According to other historians, 
on the contrary, those who form a Germanic school, all the institutions 
which we find in the Merovingian period were of Germanic origin ; 
they are the same as those which ‘Tacitus describes to us in the De 
Moribus Germanorum. 'The Teutons, they assert, not only infused into 
the decaying Gallo-Roman society the new blood of a young and 
vigorous stock, but also brought with them from the German forests 
a whole system of institutions proper to themselves. The historians 
of both these schools have fallen into exaggeration. On the one hand, 
in the time of the Roman Empire, Gaul had never had a centralised ad- 
ministration of its own; it was nothing but a diocese (dioecesis) governed 
from Rome. And when Gaul had to provide for its own needs, it 
became necessary to create a new system of central administration ; 
even the local administration was greatly modified by the necessity of 
holding the Gallo-Roman population in check, and the number of 
officials had to be increased. On the other hand, the Germanic institu- 
tions which had been suitable for small tribes on the further side of the 

Merovingian Royalty 133 

Rhine were not fitted to meet the needs of a great State like the 
Frankish kingdom. A more complicated machinery became necessary. 
In point of fact the Merovingian institutions form a new system 
composed of elements partly Roman, partly Germanic ; and the powerful 
influence of Christianity must not be left out of account. These 
elements were combined in varying proportions according to circumstances, 
and according to the needs and even the caprices of men. Moreover 
we must be careful not to think of the institutions as fixed and 
unchangeable. They are in a state of continual evolution, and those 
which obtained in Gaul in the time of Charles Martel are strikingly 
different from those which we find in the time of Clovis. It is the 
business of the historian to observe and to explain these changes. 

During the whole of the Merovingian period the State is ruled by 
kings. The kingly office is hereditary and the sons succeed the father 
by an undisputed right. Each son inherits equally, and the kingdom 
is divided up into as many parts as there are sons. Daughters, who 
were excluded from possessing land, could not succeed to the kingdom, 
The people never interfered in the choice of the sovereign. It was only 
in rare cases that the great men elevated the king, to whom they had 
given their allegiance, on the shield and carried him round the camp. 
This was done by the Ripuarians when they put themselves under the 
rule of Clovis, after the assassination of their king; and again by the 
nobles of Chilperic’s kingdom when they acknowledged Sigebert as their 
sovereign. In the case of an ordinary succession there was no special 
ceremony at which the king was invested with authority. Anointing 
was not practised in the Merovingian period. ‘The kings merely adopted 
the custom of making, on their accession, a progress through their 
dominions and imposing an oath of fidelity upon their subjects. ‘This 
is called regnum circumire. Sons who were minors were placed under 
the guardianship of their nearest relative. At twelve years old they 
were declared, according to the provisions of the Salic law, to be of age, 
and were thenceforth supposed to govern in their own name. 

The king’s official title was Rex Francorum, irrespective of the 
particular part of the country which he ruled. Some epithet such as 
gloriosus or vir inluster was usually added. 'The kings were distinguished 
by their long hair, and the locks of a prince who was to be deprived of 
his status were shorn. Chlotar I and Childebert I asked Clotilda whether 
she would rather see the hair of her grandsons, the sons of Clodomir, 
cut short, or see them put to death. The lance was also a royal 
emblem. Guntram presented a lance to Childebert I in token that he 
recognised him as heir to his dominions. Clovis wore a diadem. All 
these kings surrounded themselves with great magnificence and sat 
in state upon a golden throne. When they entered a town they 
threw money among the crowd, and their subjects greeted them with 
acclamations in various languages. The king ruled over Franks and 

CH. V. 

134 The power of the King 

Gallo-Romans alike. He ruled the former by right of birth, in virtue 
of having sprung from the family to which this privilege appertained; he 
ruled the latter, not, as has sometimes been suggested, by a delegated 
authority conferred upon Clovis by the Emperor Anastasius, but by 
right of conquest. Before long, too, all distinction between Franks 
and Gallo-Romans disappeared, and the king ruled all his subjects by 
hereditary right. The power of the king was almost absolute. He 
caused the ancient customary law of the barbarian peoples to be 
formulated or revised, as in the case of the Salic law and the laws 
of the Ripuarians and the Alemans. He did not of course create 
law; the customs which regulate the relations of men existed prior 
to the law and it would be difficult to refuse to recognise them. But 
the king ordered these customs to be formulated, and gave them, 
when formulated, a new authority. Further, he amended these laws, 
abrogating provisions which were contrary to the spirit of Christianity 
or the advance of civilisation. Alongside of the laws peculiar to each 
of the races he made edicts applicable to all his subjects without 
exception. The capitularies begin long before the reign of Charles 
the Great; we have some which go back to the Merovingian period. 
The king who makes the law is also the supreme judge. He has his 
own court of justice, and all other courts derive their authority from 
him. He can even, in virtue of his absolute power, transgress the 
ordinary rules of justice and order persons who appear to him to be 
dangerous to be put to death without trial. Childebert IJ, for example, 
once invited one of his great men, named Magnovald, to his palace at 
Metz under the pretext of shewing him some animal hunted by a pack 
of hounds, and while he was standing at a window enjoying this 
spectacle the king had him struck down by one of his men with an 
axe. Anyone who committed a crime by order of the king was declared 
immune from penalty. The king made war and peace at will, levied 
taxes at his pleasure, appointed all functionaries and confirmed the 
election of bishops. All the forces of the State were in his hands. 
All his orders—they were known as banni—must be obeyed ; the 
violation of any of them was punished with the extremely heavy fine 
of 60 gold solid. All persons belonging to the king’s household were 
protected by a wergeld three times as great as ordinary persons of 
the same class. 

Against a despotic use of this power neither the great men nor the 
people possessed any remedy save that of revolt; and such revolts are 
frequent in the Merovingian period. No small number of these kings 
perished by the assassin’s knife. One day one of his subjects told king 
Guntram, “ We know where the axe is which cut off the heads of thy 
brothers, and its edge is still keen; ere long it shall cleave thy skull.” 
At Paris, on another occasion, Guntram assembled the people in a 
church and addressed them thus: “I adjure you, men and women here 

The Campus Martius and Campus Madius 135 

present, to remain faithful to me; slay me not as ye slew my brethren. 
Suffer me to live yet three years that I may bring up my nephews. If 
I die you will perish also, for you will have no king strong enough to 
defend you.” The government was thus a despotism tempered by 

At the beginning of the Merovingian period there was no council 
having the right to advise the king and set limits to his power. The 
assemblies which Tacitus describes disappeared after the invasions. 
From time to time the great men assembled for a military expedition, 
and endeavoured to impose their will upon the king. In 556 Chlotar I 
led an expedition against the Saxons. They tendered their submission, 
offering him successively the half of their property, their flocks, 
herds and garments, and finally all they possessed. The king was 
willing to accept this offer, but his warriors forced their way into his 
tent and threatened to kill him if he did not lead them against the 
enemy. He was obliged to yield to their insistence and met with a 
severe defeat. But that is a case of violent action on the part of an 
army in revolt, not of advice given by an assembly regularly consulted. 
Such assemblies do not appear until the close of the Merovingian period, 
and then as a new creation. The bishops always made a practice of 
meeting in council, and at these meetings they passed canons which 
were authoritative for all Christians. During the civil wars the great 
laymen also began to meet in order to confer upon their common 
interests, and the bishops took part in these assemblies also. Each of 
the three kingdoms—tria regna as they are called by the chroniclers— 
had therefore its assemblies of this kind. The sovereign was obliged to 
reckon with them, and consulted them on general matters. Subsequently 
when the Carolingians had again united the kingdom, there was only 
one assembly. It was summoned regularly in the month of March and 
became known as the field of March—campus martius. 'The great 
men came thither in arms, and if war was decided on they took the field 
immediately against the enemy. Before long, however, as the cavalry 
had great difficulty in finding fodder in March, the assembly was 
transferred, about the middle of the seventh century, to the month of 
May, when there was grass for the horses in the meadows, and the 
campus martius became the campus madius. 'Those who were summoned 
to this assembly brought to the king gifts in money or in kind, 
which became the principal source of revenue of the State; they tried 
persons accused of high treason, and before them were promulgated the 
capitularies. The assembly was thus at once an army, a council and 
a legal tribunal. The Carolingians made it the most important part 
of the machinery of government. 

The king was aided in the work of administration by numerous 
officials who both held posts in the royal household and performed ad- 
ministrative functions in the State. We may mention the Referendaries 

CH. V. 

136 The Mayor of the Palace 

Ser Ee ee 
who drew up and signed diplomas in the name of the king; the Counts 
of the Palace, who directed the procedure before the royal tribunal ; the 
Cubicularies who had charge of the treasuries in which the wealth of the 
king was laid up; the Seneschals, who managed (among other things) 
the royal table; the Marshals, who had constables (comites stabult) under 
their orders, and were Masters of the Horse, etc. Among these officials 
the foremost place was gradually taken by the Mayor of the Palace, 
whose office was peculiar to the Merovingian courts. Landed proprietors 
were in the habit of putting their various domains under the charge 
of majores, mayors ; and a major domus, placed over these various mayors, 
supervised all the estates, and all the revenues from them were paid in 
to him. The Mayor of the Palace was at first the overseer of all the 
royal estates, and was also charged with maintaining discipline in the 
royal household. Being always in close relation with the king, he soon 
acquired political functions. If the king was a minor, it was his duty 
as nutricius to watch over his education. The dukes and counts, who 
came from time to time to the palace, fell under his authority, and 
before long he began to send them orders when they were in their 
administrative districts; and he acquired an influence in their appoint- 
ment. As the whole of the administration centred in the palace he 
became in the end the head of the administration. He presided over 
the royal court of justice and often commanded the army. In the 
struggle of the great men against the royal house one of the points for 
which they contended was the right to impose upon the sovereign a 
mayor of the palace of their choice; and each division of Gaul (Neustria, 
Burgundy and Austrasia) desired to have its own mayor. We have seen 
that a single family, descended from Arnulf and Pepin I, succeeded in 
getting the office of Mayor of the Palace into their own hands and 
rendered it hereditary. From 687~751 the Mayors of this family 
were the real rulers of the Frankish kingdom, and in 751 it was strong 
enough to seize the crown. 

The court was frequented by a considerable number of persons. The 
young sons of the nobles were brought up there, being “commended ” 
to the care of one or other of the great officials of the palace. They 
there served their apprenticeship to civil or military life, and might 
look forward to receiving later some important post. The officials 
engaged in local administration came frequently to the palace to receive 
instructions. Other great men resided there in the hope of receiving 
some favour. Besides these laymen, many ecclesiastics were there to be 
met with, bishops coming from their dioceses, clergy of the royal chapel, 
clergy in search of a benefice. All these persons were optimates of the 
king, his faithful servants, his lewdes, that is to say “his people” (deute). 
A distinctive position among them was held by the autrustiones, who 
were the descendants of the Germanic comites. They formed the king’s 
body-guard, and usually ate at the royal table. They took an oath to 

Local Administration 137 

protect the king in all circumstances. They were often sent to defend 
frontier fortresses, and thus formed a kind of small standing army. 
They were also charged with important missions. 

The kingdom was divided into districts known as pagi. In earlier 
times the pagi corresponded to the former Gallo-Roman “ cities,” but 
in the northern part of the kingdom their number was increased. At 
the head of the pagus was the count, comes—in Teutonic graf. ‘The 
king appointed the counts at his own pleasure, and could choose them 
from any class of society, sometimes naming a mere freedman. Leu- 
dastes, the Count of Tours who quarrelled so violently with Bishop 
Gregory, had been born on an estate belonging to the royal treasury 
in the island of Rhé, and had been employed as a slave first in the 
kitchen, and afterwards in the bakery of King Charibert. Having run 
away several times he had been marked by having his ears clipped. 
Charibert’s wife had only lately freed him when the king appointed him 
Count of Tours. The counts were chosen not only from all classes 
of society, but from the various races of the kingdom. Among those 
who are known to us there are more Gallo-Romans than Franks. 
Within his district the count exercised almost every kind of authority. 
He policed it, and arrested criminals; he held a court of justice, he 
levied taxes and made disbursements for public purposes, paying over 
the residue each year into the royal treasury ; he executed all the king’s 
commands, and took under his protection the widow and the orphan. 
He was all-powerful alike for good and ill, and unfortunately the 
Merovingian counts, greedy of gain and ill-supervised, did chiefly evil : 
Leudastes of Tours was no isolated exception among them. To assist 
them in their numerous duties the counts appointed “vicars.” ‘The 
vicar represented the count during his frequent absences ; in some cases 
he administered a part of the district, while the count administered the 
remainder. Before long there were several vicars to each county and 
it was regularly subdivided into districts called vicariates. ‘The 
“hundred-man” (centenarius) or thunginus of the Salic law was 
identified with the vicar and the terms became synonymous. 

Often it was necessary to concentrate in the hands of a single ad- 
ministrator authority over several counties. In this case the king placed 
over the counts a duke. The duke was principally a military leader ; he 
commanded the army, and the counts within his jurisdiction had to 
march under his orders. The duchy did not form a permanent administra- 
tive district like the county; it usually disappeared along with the 
circumstances that gave rise to the appointment. In certain districts 
however, in Champagne, in Alsace and beyond the Jura on the shores of 
the Lake of Neuchatel, there were permanent duchies. In the kingdom 
of Burgundy we find the title patricius as that of an official who 
yoverned the part of Provence which was attached to Burgundy, and 
ilso appears to have held the chief military command in that kingdom 

| CH. Y. 

138 Barbarian Law 

The official who held the command in that part of Provence, which was 
a dependency of Austrasia, bore the title of rector. ‘These titles were 
doubtless borrowed from the Ostrogoths, who were the masters of 
Provence from 508 to 536. 

It remains to notice the organisation of justice, finance and the army. 
The races of Merovingian Gaul were not all under one law. Each race 
had its own ; the principle was that the system of law varied according to 
the race of the persons who were to be judged. The Gallo-Romans 
continued to be judged according to the Roman law, especially the 
compilation made among the Visigoths and known under the name of 
the Breviarium Alarici. As it was in the region south of the Loire 
that the Gallo-Romans were least mixed with barbarian elements, 
it was in Aquitaine that the Roman law longest maintained its 
hold. The Burgundians and the Visigoths had already their own 
systems of law at the time when their kingdoms were overthrown by 
the Franks, and the men of these races continued to be judged by these 
laws throughout the whole of the Merovingian period. The Merovingian 
kings caused the customary laws of the other barbarian peoples to be 
preserved in writing. In all probability the earliest redaction of the 
Salic law goes back to Clovis, and is doubtless to be placed in the last 
years of his reign, after his victory over the Visigoths, 507-511. We 
cannot place it earlier, for the following reasons. The Germanic peoples 
did not use the Latin language until after they had become mixed with 
the Gallo-Roman population ; in the scale of fines the monetary system 
of sold? is used, which only makes its appearance in the Merovingian 
period ; further, the Salic law contains imitations of the Visigothic laws 
of Euric (466-484); finally, it is evident that the Franks are masters 
of the Visigoths, since they provide for the case of men dwelling beyond 
the Loire—trans Ligertm—being cited before the tribunals. On the 
other hand, it is not possible to place the redaction much later, since 
the law is not yet leavened with the Christian spirit ; only in later redac- 
tions does Christian influence appear. Similarly, there are incorporated in 
these later redactions capitularies emanating from the immediate successors 
of Clovis. The law of the Ripuarians, even in its most ancient portions, 
is later than the reign of Clovis; that of the Alemans does not appear 
to be earlier than the commencement of the eighth century, or that 
of the Bavarians earlier than 744-748. Other laws, like those of the 
Saxons and Thuringians, were not reduced to writing until the time of 
Charles the Great. These collections of laws must not be regarded as 
codes. ‘The subjects are not co-ordinated; there are few rules of civil 
law; they are chiefly occupied with scales of fines and rules of procedure. 

Justice was administered in the smaller cases by the centeniers 
or vicars, in the more important by the counts. Both classes of 
officials held regular courts called in Latin placita, in Germanic mall or 
malberg. The sittings of these courts took place at fixed periods and 

Justice 139 

the dates were known beforehand. The vicars and counts were assisted by 
freemen known as rachimburgi or boni homines who sat with the officials, 
assisted them with their counsels, and intervened in the debates, and 
it was they who fixed the amount of the fines to be paid by the guilty 
party. At first the rachimburgi varied in number, before long however 
the presence of seven of them was requisite in order that a judgment 
might be valid. The rachimburgi were notables who gave a portion of 
their time to the public service ; Charles the Great made a far-reaching 
reform when he substituted for them regular officials trained in legal 
knowledge, known as scabini. The counts also made progresses through 
their districts, received petitions from their subjects and gave immediate 
Judgment without observing the strict rules of procedure. Above the 
count’s court of justice was the king’s. It was held in one of the royal 
villae and presided over by the king, or, later on, by the Mayor of the 
Palace. 'The president of the court was assisted by “auditors,” more or 
less numerous according to the importance of the case; these were 
bishops, counts or other great personages present at the palace. The 
king could call up before his court any cases that he pleased. He judged 
regularly the high officials, men placed under his mundium, cases of 
treason and cases in which the royal treasury was interested. He 
received appeals from the sentences delivered in the count’s court. The 
king’s court also exercised jurisdiction in certain matters of beneficence ; 
before it the slave was freed by the ceremony of manumission known 
as per denarium, and married persons made mutual donation of goods. 
In addition to his regular jurisdiction the king made a practice of 
travelling through his realm, hearing the complaints of his subjects, 
and redressing their grievances without waiting for all the delays of 
legal procedure. The Merovingian legal tribunals endeavoured to 
introduce some degree of order into a state of society in which 
crimes were rife, and to substitute the regular action of law for private 
vengeance and family feud. Unfortunately they did not succeed. 
Under the Merovingian kings the system of taxation established by 
the Romans gradually fell into disuse. This is not difficult to explain 
when we remember that this fiscal system was extremely complicated, 
and that the kings had really very little to provide for in the way 
of disbursements. The officials received no salaries, but had the 
enjoyment of the revenues of certain villae belonging to the royal 
treasury. When they went on circuit in the service of the king, 
private persons were obliged to furnish them with food, lodging and 
means of transport. The army cost the king nothing, for his warriors 
had to provide their own equipment. The administration of justice 
was a source of revenue to the king in the shape of the confiscations 
ind fines imposed by the courts. His expenses were limited to the 
naintenance of his court and the donations made to the great men 
ind the churches, and these expenses were covered by his different 

CH. V. 

140 Taxation 

revenues, which came chiefly from the royal domains. The kings became 
possessed of numerous villae scattered over the various districts of Gaul, 
and these properties were constantly augmented by purchases, donations 
and advantageous exchanges. It is true that at the close of the 
Merovingian epoch the kings, in order to conciliate the great men, 
distributed among them a large number of these royal estates, and the 
treasury became impoverished. ig 
In the second place, the kings levied, at least at the beginning 
of the period, a number of taxes direct and indirect, which were 
adaptations of the former Roman imposts. They raised customs dues 
(telonea) on the goods which passed through certain towns, others on 
goods passing along the high-roads, by a public bridge, or trans- 
ported by river, and on goods exposed for sale in markets. But these 
dues were often made over to the churches, abbeys or private persons. 
Sometimes also the king levied a tax on men who were not of free 
condition. This was the old capitatio humana. Those who were liable 
to it were inscribed in a public register known as the polyptychum. But 
this impost gradually lost its importance. The queen Bathildis, who 
lived at the period when Ebroin was Mayor of the Palace, and was 
herself a former Breton slave, forbade the levying of this tax, because 
parents killed their children rather than pay for them. The tax became 
a customary due, of which the incidence was limited to certain persons ; 
traces of it are found in the time of Charles the Great. Similarly the 
land tax, capitatio terrena, brought in less and less. Smitten by fear of 
the divine wrath Chilperic himself burned the registers in order to win 
back the favour of God. The capitatio terrena came to be limited to 
certain lands, as the capitatio humana was to certain persons. At the 
end of the Merovingian period it became necessary to create new imposts, 
and then the warriors were required to bring to the spring assembly 
gifts nominally voluntary, which soon became compulsory. The minting 
of coinage was in the earlier part of the period another source of 
revenue. For a long time the Frankish kings confined themselves to 
imitating the imperial currency; Theodebert was the first to place his 
name and effigy on the gold solidi. But his example was little followed. 
Down to the seventh century coinage was minted in Gaul bearing the 
names of former Emperors like Anastasius, Justin and Justinian, whose 
types became permanent, or of contemporary Emperors like Heraclius 
(610-641). From the middle of the seventh century onward we find 
no coins bearing an effigy. On one side we find simply a man’s name 
—that of the monetarius—on the other that of the locality. More 
than 800 local names are found on the Merovingian coins. Evidently 
coining had become almost entirely free again; minters, provided with 
a royal authorisation, went from place to place, converting ingots 

into specie. Charles the Great however resumed the exclusive right of 

The Army 141 
The composition of the army varied during the Merovingian period. 
The army of Clovis with which he conquered Gaul was an army of 
barbarians, to which some Roman soldiers, encamped in the country, had 
joined themselves. These Roman troops long preserved their name, 
their accoutrements, their insignia. Later it seems clear that certain of 
the barbarian tribes were liable to special military obligations, and in 
case of military expeditions were the first to take the field. The armies 
which descended from Gaul upon Italy in the sixth century were principally 
composed of Burgundian warriors. The Saxons established near Bayeux, 
the Taifali, whose name is found in the Poitivin district of 'Tiffauges, 
were for long distinctly military colonies whose members took the field 
at the first alarm of war. But soon the Gallo-Romans, too, find a place 
in the armies. Some of them doubtless asked leave to join an expedition 
which was likely to bring back spoil; thenceforward their descendants 
were under obligation to render military service. Others were obliged 
by the count or the duke to equip themselves, and in this way a precedent 
was created which bound their descendants. 'Thus certain free persons, 
whether Gallo-Romans or barbarians, are subject to the obligation 
of military service, just as certain persons are subject to the capitatio 
humana and certain lands to the capitatio terrena. ‘These persons were 
obliged to arm themselves and march whenever the king summoned 
them to do so. But they were rarely all summoned at one time; the 
king first called on those who lived in the neighbourhood of the scene 
of war. If it was for an expedition against Germany he summoned the 
ighting-men of Austrasia, for a war against Brittany he summoned the 
men of Tours, Poitiers, Bayeux, Le Mans and Angers. All the men 
thus mustered served at their own expense, and remained on campaign 
ull summer; in winter they returned to their homes, to be recalled, 
if need were, the following spring. Charles the Great made a great re- 
form in the military organisation. He based the obligation to military 
service upon property, the principle being that everyone who possessed 
4 certain number of mansi was obliged to serve. ‘The number varied 
from year to year according to the number of fighting-men required. 

We thus see how these institutions were incessantly transformed by 
she influence of circumstances and by human action. Roman and 
Germanic elements were combined in them in various proportions, and 
1ew elements were added to them. ‘The Merovingian institutions thus 
‘ame to form a new system; and from them arise by a series of transfor- 
nations the institutions of Charles the Great. 

Only the Church, which connects itself with the Gallo-Roman Church, 
presents an appearance of greater fixity, since the Church claims to hold 
ilways the-same dogmas and to be founded on stable principles. Never- 
heless even the Church underwent an evolution along with the society 
vhich it endeavoured to guide. We shall give our attention successively 
.o the secular Church and the religious Orders. 

CH. V. 

142 _ Organisation of the Church 

No one could become a member of the secular clergy without the 
permission of the king. Anyone who desired the clerical office must also 
give certain guarantees of his moral fitness. His conduct must be 
upright and pure, and he must possess a certain amount of education. 
To have married a second time, or to have married a widow, debarred 
a man from the clerical office, and those who were married must break 
off all relations with their wives. Clerics were distinguished from laymen 
by their tonsure, they wore a special costume, the habitus clericalis, and 
they were judged according to the Roman Law. Each cleric was 
attached to a special church, which he ought not to leave without the 
written permission of his bishop; the councils impose the severest 
penalties upon priests wandering at large (gyrovag7). 

The chief of the clergy was the bishop, who was placed over a 
diocese—parochia, as it was called in the Merovingian period. Theoreti- 
cally there were as many bishops as there had been civitates in Roman 
Gaul, but the principle was not rigorously carried out. A number of 
the small cities mentioned in the Notttia Galliarum had no bishop in 
the Merovingian period, for their territory was united to that of a 
neighbouring city. This was the case in regard to the civitas Rigo- 
magensium (Thorame) and the civitas Salinensium (Castellane) in the 
province of the Alpes Maritimae. On the other hand some of the 
cities were divided up. St Remigius established a bishopric at Laon 
which was not a Gallo-Roman city. Similarly a bishopric was created 
at Nevers. Out of the civitas of Nimes were carved the bishoprics of 
Uzes, Agde and Maguelonne; out of Narbonne that of Carcassonne ; 
out of Nyons that of Belley. This creation of new bishoprics was due 
to the progress of Christianity. Certain bishoprics which the Mero- 
vingian kings created in order to make the boundaries of the dioceses 
coincide with those of their share of the kingdom—such as that of 
Melun, formed out of that of Sens, and of Chateaudun, formed out of 
that of Chartres—had only a transient existence. 

Theoretically the bishops were elected by the clergy and people of the 
city. ‘The election took place in the cathedral, under the presidency of 
the metropolitan or of a bishop of the province; the faithful acclaimed 
the candidate of their choice, who immediately took possession of the 
episcopal chair. But under the Merovingians it is observable that the 
kings acquire little by little an influence in the elections. The sovereign 
made known his choice to the electors; in many cases he directly 
designated the prelate. He might, of course, choose the man most 
worthy of the post, but usually he was content to be bribed. “ At this 
time,” says Gregory of Tours, “that seed of iniquity began to bear fruit 
that the episcopal office was sold by the kings or bought by the clerics.” 
In face of these pretentions of the monarchy the first councils of the 
Merovingian period, those of 533 and 538, did not fail to assert the 
ancient canonical rights. Before long however the bishops saw that they 

Appointment of Bishops 143 

must take things as they were and make the best of them. They were 
prepared to recognise the intervention of the king as legitimate, while 
insisting that the king should not sell the episcopate and should observe 
the canonical regulations. “None shall buy the episcopal dignity for 
money,” runs the pronouncement of the Fifth Council of Orleans, of 549 ; 
“the bishop shall, with the king’s consent and according to the choice of 
the clergy and the people, be consecrated by the metropolitan and the 
other bishops of the province.” hese principles were recalled at the 
famous council of 614, but without the mention of the king: “ On the 
decease of a bishop there shall be appointed in his place whoever shall 
have been elected by the metropolitan, the bishops of the province, and 
the clergy and people of the city, without hindrance and without gift of 
money.” Chlotar II in the edict confirming these canons modified the 
tenor of this article. While recognising the right of election of the 
persons interested, he maintained the right of intervention of the prince. 
“If the elected person is worthy, he shall be consecrated, upon the order 
of the prince.” From that time forward the established procedure was 
as follows. On the death of a prelate the citizens and the people of the 
civitas assemble, under the presidency of the metropolitan and the other 
bishops of the province. They choose the successor and make known to 
the king the act of election—consensus civium pro episcopatu. If the 
king approves, he transmits to the metropolitan the order to consecrate 
the bishop-elect, and invites the other bishops of the province to be 
present at the ceremony. If he is dissatisfied with the election, he 
requests the electors to choose another candidate, and sometimes he 
himself nominates him. 

The power of the bishop was very great. All the clergy of the 
diocese were under his control, and in the episcopal city a certain 
number of clerics lived in the bishop’s house and ate at his table. 
Chrodegang, bishop of Metz, laid down about the middle of the eighth 
century a very strict rule for these clergy, requiring them to live as 
a community: this was the origin of secular canons. Throughout 
the whole diocese the bishop reserved to himself certain religious 
functions. He alone had power to consecrate altars and churches, 
to bless the holy oils, to confirm the young and to ordain clergy. 
All other functions he delegated to the archpriests, whose appoint- 
ment was either made or sanctioned by him. Only these archpriests 
had the right to baptise, and at the great festivals they alone had 
the right to say mass. The district under the authority of the 
archpriest soon came to be considered as a smaller parochia within 
the larger parochia. The archpriests were generally placed in the 
vici, the large country-towns. Under them were the clerics who served 
the oratories of the villae; these clerics were presented by the proprietors 
of the vidlae for institution by the bishop. The bishop was assisted in 
his work by an archdeacon who exercised oversight among the clergy 

CH. V. 

144 Power of the Bishop 

and judged contentions arising among them. It was the bishop, too, 
who administered Church property, and this property was of large 
extent. Never were donations to the Church more abundant than in 
the Merovingian period. ‘The benefactors of the Church were, first, 
the bishops themselves: Bertramn of Mans left to his see thirty-five 
estates. [hen there were the kings, who hoped to atone for their 
crimes by pious donations, and rich laymen who to provide for the 
salvation of their souls despoiled their heirs. All property acquired 
by the Church was, according to the canons of the councils, inalienable. 
The Church always received and never gave back. In addition to 
landed property, the Church received from the kings certain financial 
privileges, such as exemption from customs-dues and market-tax. Often, 
too, the sovereign made over to the Church the right to levy dues 
at specified places. Further, since Moses had granted to the tribe of 
Levi, that is to say to the priests, the right of levying tithes upon 
the fruits of the earth and the increase of the cattle, the Merovingian 
Church claimed a similar contribution, and threatened with excom- 
munication anyone who should fail to pay it. The tithe was generally 
paid by the faithful, but it was not made obligatory by the State. It 
only acquired that character in the time of Charles the Great. All this 
property was theoretically in the charge of the bishop of the diocese. 
He was required to divide it into four parts, one for the maintenance 
of the bishop and his household, one for the payment of the clergy 
of his diocese, one for the poor, and one for the building and repair 
of churches. Little by little, however, property became attached to 
secondary parishes and even to mere oratories. 

The bishop had great influence within his city as well as in the 
State. In the city he acted as an administrator and carried out works 
of public utility. Sidonius of Mainz built an embankment along 
the Rhine, Felix of Nantes straightened the course of the Loire, Didier 
of Cahors constructed aqueducts. ‘The bishop thus took the place of 
the former municipal magistrates, whose office had died out ; he received 
the town to govern (ad gubernandum); by the end of the Merovingian 
period certain cities are already episcopal cities. The bishop maintains 
the cause of his parishioners before the officials of the State, and even 
before the king himself; he obtains for them alleviation of imposts and 
all kinds of favours. The bishops’ protection was especially extended 
to a class of persons who formed as it were their clientage—widows, 
orphans, the poor, slaves, and captives. The poor of the city were 
formed into a regularly organised body, their names were inscribed on 
the registers of the Church, and they were known as the matricularii. 

The bishops and the clergy in general enjoyed important legal 
privileges. From 614 onwards the clergy could only be judged on 
criminal charges by their bishops; the bishops themselves could only 
be cited before councils of the Church. But, still more important, 

The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy 145 

laymen were glad to make the bishop the arbiter of their differences ; 
they knew that they would find in him a Judge more just and better 
instructed than the count. The Church could also give protection to 
malefactors; the criminal, once he had crossed the sacred threshold, 
could not be torn thence; it was commonly believed that frightful 
chastisements had smitten those who attempted to violate the rights of 

It would be easy te shew how grossly immoral was the Frankish 
race—the history of Gregory of Tours is filled with the record of 
horrible crimes—but at the same time they were profoundly credulous 
and superstitious. On Sundays, at the sound of the bells, they rushed 
in crowds to the churches. They frequently received the communion, 
and it was a terrible punishment to be deprived of it. Apart from 
the Church services the Franks were constantly at prayer. They 
believed not only in God but in the saints, whom they continually 
invoked, and they believed in their intervention in the affairs of this 
world. ‘They were eager to procure relics, which had healing power. 
‘The Church had in its control sacraments, religion, healing virtue, 
and the bishop held the first place in the Church; he was felt to be 
invested with supernatural power, and the faithful held him in awe. 

Above the bishop was the metropolitan. With a few rare excep- 
tions, the metropolitan had his seat at the chief town of the Roman 
province. In the course of the fifth century, the province of Vienne 
was cut in two: there was one metropolitan at Vienne, another at 
Arles. The latter annexed to his jurisdiction the provinces of the 
Alpes Maritimae (Embrun) and of Narbonensis II (Aix). Thence- 
forward twelve metropolitan sees were distinguished: Vienne, Arles, 
Tréves, Rheims, Lyons (to which was united Besancon), Rouen, Tours, 
Sens, Bourges, Bordeaux, Eauze and Narbonne. ‘The metropolitan 
had the right to convoke provincial councils, and presided at them. 
He exercised a certain oversight over the bishops of the province, and 
it was to him that it naturally fell to act as judge among them. 
His title was simply that of bishop: the title archbishop does not 
appear until quite the end of the Merovingian period. The authority 
of the metropolitans was subordinate to that of the Frankish Church as 
a whole, which had as its organs the national councils. These councils 
were always convoked by the king, who exercised much influence in 
their deliberations. We have the canons of numerous councils held 
between 511 and 614, which give us a mass of information regarding 
ecclesiastical organisation and discipline. These canons are not much 
concerned with doctrine; they recall the clergy to their duties, safe- 
guard the property of the churches against the covetousness of laymen, 
and censure pagan customs such as augury and sortes sanctorum. 

The Frankish Church honoured the Papacy and regarded the bishop 
of Rome as the successor of St Peter, but the Papacy had no 

C. MED. H. VOL. II. CH. V. 10 

146 Relations with the Papacy 

effective power over this Church, except perhaps in the province of 
Arles. Reading the work of Gregory of Tours, which is so full of life 
and reflects so exactly the passions and ideas of the time, we do not find 
that the Pope plays any part in the narrative. The bishops are ap- 
pointed without his intervention and they govern their churches without 
entering into relations with him. At the end of the sixth century, as 
we saw earlier, Gregory the Great maintained an active correspondence 
with Brunhild. He gives her advice, and his advice was, without 
doubt, listened to with respect. The pope takes no direct action, but 
he urges the queen to act. It is not difficult to see however that he 
was quite ready to supersede Brunhild in the task of directing the 
Frankish Church; he would like to make Candidus, who was the 
administrator of the papal patrimony in Provence, a kind of legate 
beyond the Alps. There can be no doubt that Gregory I, had he lived, 
would have succeeded by his able policy in re-establishing in Gaul the 
papal authority as it had been exercised by Leo I before the fall of the 
Empire. But after the death of Gregory in 604 relations between 
Rome and the Franks became very rare for more than a century. 
There are only one or two instances of such relations to which we can 
point. Pope Martin I (649-655), for example, requested the sons of 
Dagobert to assemble councils in order to combat the Monothelete 
heresy, which was supported by the Byzantine Emperors. Relations 
were not effectively resumed until the eighth century, but they were then 
to have an immense influence upon general history. 

We have already seen how, in their opposition to the Emperors of 
Constantinople, the popes sought the aid of the Mayors of the Palace, 
and how this alliance was concluded. We have also noticed, in passing, 
how Boniface brought under the authority of the Holy See the Germanic 
races whom he converted to the Christian faith. But, besides this, with 
the aid of Carloman and Pepin (after 739), Boniface accomplished another 
task. After the death of Dagobert the Frankish Church had fallen 
into profound decadence, and Charles Martel had sunk it still lower by 
conferring bishoprics and abbeys on rude and ignorant laymen. These 
bishops and abbots never wore clerical vestments, but always sword 
and baldric. They dissipated the property of the Church and sought 
to bequeath their offices to their bastards. For eighty years no 
council was called. Every vestige of education and civilisation was in 
danger of being swamped. A complete reform of the Church was 
necessary in the interests of society itself. To Carloman and Pepin 
belongs the merit of having perceived this, and they entrusted this great 
work to Boniface. Once more a series of councils was held, in the 
dominions of Carloman as well as in those of Pepin; there was even a 
general council of the whole kingdom in March 745 at Estinnes in 
Hainault. The ecclesiastical hierarchy was restored, measures were 
taken against priests of scandalous life; the clergy were encouraged to 

Monasteries 147 

become better educated. Above all, this reformed clergy was placed 
under the authority of the Papacy ; the road to Rome became familiar 
to them. On the one hand there was a political alliance between the 
popes and the Mayors of the Palace; on the other relations were renewed 
between the clergy of what had been Gaul and the Papacy. Thus was 
recovered the idea of Christian unity in one sole Church under the 
authority of the Pope, as the successor of the apostle Peter. 

We have hitherto spoken chiefly of the secular Church, but in even 
a summary account of the Church of the Merovingian period a place 
must be found for the monasteries. As early as the fifth century, before 
the conquest of Clovis, famous abbeys had arisen upon Gallic soil. 
Such were Ligugé near Poitiers, Marmoutier and St Martin in the 
territory of Tours, St Honorat on one of the islands of Lerins, St 
Victor at Marseilles. In the time of Clovis Caesarius founded in the 
town of Arles one monastery for men and another for women. Under 
Clovis and his successors monasteries rapidly increased in number. 
Childebert I founded that of St Vincent, close to the gates of Paris, 
afterwards to be known as St Germain-des-Prés; Chlotar I founded 
St Médard of Soissons, while Radegund, the Thuringian wife whom 
he had repudiated, built Ste Croix of Poitiers. To Guntram is due 
the foundation of St Marcel of Chalon-sur-Sadne, and the extension 
of St Benignus of Dijon. Private persons followed the example of 
the kings. Aridius, a friend of Gregory of Tours, founded on one 
of his estates the monastery which from his name was known as 
St Yrieix. All these monasteries were placed under the charge of 
the bishop, who visited them and if necessary recalled the monks to 
their duty. At the head of the household was placed an abbot, 
generally chosen by the founder or his descendants, but in some cases 
elected by the community, subject to the bishop’s confirmation. Each 
monastery was independent of the rest, and had a rule—regula—of its 
own, based upon principles borrowed from the early monks in Egypt, 
from Pachomius, Basil and the writings of Cassian and Caesarius of 
Arles. The abbeys did not as yet form congregations obeying the same 
rule. Since they confined themselves to serving as a refuge for souls 
wounded in the battle of life, they had no influence on the outside world. 
They were not centres of the religious life radiating an influence beyond 
the walls of the cloister and exercising a direct action upon the Church. 

This type of monastic life was the creation of an Irish monk, Colum- 
banus, who landed on the Continent about the year 585. He settled in 
the kingdom of Guntram, and established, in the neighbourhood of the 
Vosges, three monasteries, Annegray, Luxeuil (known in Roman times 
for its medicinal baths), and Fontaines. ‘These three houses were under 
his direction and he gave them a common rule, which was distinguished 
by its extreme severity. Obedience was required of the monk “even 
unto death,” according to the example of Christ, who was faithful to 

CH. V. 10—2 

148 Columbanus and his Disciples 

His Father even unto the death of the cross. The smallest peccadiilo, 
the least negligence in service, was punished with strokes of the rod. 
The monk must have no possessions ; he must never even use the word 
“my.” This rule became common to all the other abbeys which were 
founded subsequently by Columbanus himself or his disciples. For 
Columbanus did not remain undisturbed within the walls of Luxeuil. 
Twice he was torn from his refuge by Brunhild, whose orders he 
refused to obey. He wandered through Champagne, and under his 
influence a monastery arose at Rebais and convents for women at 
Faremoutiers and Jouarre. Later he found his way to the shores of the 
Lake of Constance in Alemannia where his disciple Gallus founded the 
monastery which bore his name, St Gall. He ended his days on 
23 November 615 in Italy, where the monastery of Bobbio claims him 
as its founder. Loyal disciples of his had reformed or founded in Gaul 
a large number of monasteries; in no similar period were so many 
founded as between the years 610 and 650. We can mention only the 
most famous—Echternach, Priim, Etival, Senones, Moyenmoutier, St 
Mihiel-sur-Meuse, Malmédy and Stavelot. Many of these monasteries 
received from one hundred to two hundred monks. 

All these abbeys obeyed the same rule and were animated by the 
same spirit; they formed a sort of congregation. In general they 
declared themselves independent of the bishop—ad modum Luaxoven- 
stum. 'They chose their abbots and administered their property freely. 
Moreover these monks did not confine themselves within the walls 
of their monasteries; they desired to play a part in the Church. 
St Wandrille claimed that the monks should not merely be allowed to 
count the years which they spent in the cloister, but those also in which 
they travelled in the service of God. The disciples of Columbanus 
were preachers like himself; they proclaimed the necessity of penance, 
the expiation of every mistake according to a fixed scale, as in the rule of 
the monastery, and at this time penitentials began to be widely circulated. 
The sense of sin became very keen among the people, and they multiplied 
gifts to the Church in order to atone for their transgressions. The monks 
also became missionaries ; each abbey was, so to speak, the head-quarters 
of a mission. St Gall completed the conversion of the Alemans, Eustasius 
abbot of Luxeuil converted the heretical Warasci in the neighbourhood 
of Besangon and went to preach the Gospel in Bavaria. But the very 
number of these monasteries caused the defects of the rule of Colum- 
' banus to be quickly perceived. This rule did not provide for the 
administration of the monastery; it did not prescribe, hour by hour, 
the employments of the day; then, again, it was too severe, too crush- 
ing, and often reduced men to despair. Now, about a hundred years 
earlier (c, 529), Benedict of Nursia had given to the monastery of Monte 
Cassino an admirable rule; this rule was not known in France. until 
after the death of Columbanus and the remarkable growth of monasteries 

Spread of the Benedictine Rule 149 

connected with him, but once known its advantages were soon recognised. 
All the questions which Columbanus had left unsettled here received a 
practical solution. It regulated the relations of the abbot with the 
monks and of the monks with one another; it prescribed the employ- 
ments of the day and the hours to be divided between prayer, manual 
work and study. Mystical speculations are left aside; there is something 
of the legal spirit of ancient Rome in these clearly-drawn precepts: 
The rule of St Benedict at first appeared as a rival alongside of that of 
St Columbanus; but after the great ecclesiastical reform associated with 
the name of Boniface it reigned alone; and a little later Louis the 
son of Charles the Great imposed it (817) upon all the monasteries of 
his realm. The impetuous torrent which Columbanus had let loose 
was thus turned into a wide channel, in which its waters could flow 

Merovingian society was composed of remarkably definite gradations, 
each man having his fixed price, so to speak, marked by the wergeld. 
At the bottom of the scale was the slave. The Germans as well as the 
Romans had possessed slaves, and their number was increased in the 
Merovingian period. After a war the prisoners were often reduced to 
servitude; many of these unfortunates belonged to the Slav race, and 
the name slave gradually took the place of servus. There were also 
slave-dealers who went to seek their human merchandise overseas ; young 
Anglo-Saxons were much sought after on account of their beauty. Then 
again, a man who could not pay his debts, or a fine inflicted by the courts, 
fell into servitude; and a freeman who married a slave lost his freedom. 
Slaves were looked on as chattels; the master could sell them or give 
them away at his pleasure. Anyone who stole or killed a slave paid 
a fine of thirty solidi, just the same amount as was paid for stealing a 
horse, and this compensation was paid to the master: the slave was not 
considered to have any family. Slaves were often very cruelly treated 
by their masters; Duke Rauching for example made his slaves put out 
torches by pressing them against their naked legs. "The Church however 
took up their cause; it declared unions between slaves which had been 
blessed by the priest to be legitimate, and earnestly exhorted masters 
not to separate husband and wife, parents and children. 

Slaves could escape from their condition by enfranchisement. In the 
Merovingian period there were two kinds of solemn enfranchisement, 
that per denarium before the king, by which the former slave acquired 
the rights of a Frankish freeman, and that of the Church, by which 
he became a free Roman. In both cases he was discharged from all 
obligation towards his former master, but remained in a certain 
dependence on the king, who fell heir to the property of slaves if 
they had no children born after their enfranchisement. But usually the 
slave was simply freed by a written statement to that effect given by the 

CH. V. 

150 Classes of Society 

master, and a freedman of this kind, known as Libertus or lidus, remained 
in a position of close dependence upon his former master. He could, it 
is true, plead in the courts and enter into binding agreements, but he 
paid his patron a yearly fee known as the ldimonium, and if he died 
without issue his patron became his heir. The freedman usually retained 
the land which he had cultivated as a slave, but instead of being a 
servilis holding it became a /idilis holding. ! 

On the large estates there was a third class of holding, the manst 
ingenuiles. These were held by the coloni, the descendants of the 
former Roman coloni. Theoretically these coloni were free, but they 
were bound to their holdings; they could not quit them without the 
permission of the owner, and if they ran away they were brought back 
by force. But, on the other hand, so long as they paid their rent, 
they could not be expelled from their holdings and might cultivate 
them as they chose. They thus form an intermediate class between the 
slaves who were tied to one place and the freemen, to whom all roads 
stood open. 

The freemen might belong either to the conquering race, the Franks, 
or the conquered race, the Gallo-Romans; and the two races were under 
different laws. The Salic law fixes the wergeld of a Salian Frank at two 
hundred solidi, that of the Roman at one hundred only. But we must 
not conclude from this that there was a great gulf fixed between the two 
races. Where both parties to a case were Gallo-Romans, they were 
judged according to the Roman law; when a Gallo-Roman was accused 
by a Frank, judgment was still given according to the Roman law; it 
was only in a case where a Frank was the defendant that the Salic law 
was applied, and it is quite natural that this law should be more severe 
upon the murder of a man of the same race than on that of a Roman. 
Besides, the further we advance in Merovingian history, the more the 
two races become intermingled. The Franks admired the Roman 
civilisation and endeavoured to assimilate it; they learned the common 
language of Gaul, which was in process of becoming Romanic; they 
even prided themselves on learning to speak pure Latin. The Gallo- 
Romans, on their part, adopted the military customs of the barbarians. 
They frequently gave Germanic names to their children. Both nations 
were Christian, and the common faith contributed to bring them 

In theory all these freemen were equal, but little by little dis- 
tinctions arose among them. In default of a nobility with hereditary 
privileges, there grew up an aristocracy, potentes, priores, who exercised a 
powerful influence. These great men belonged generally to the ancient 
Gallo-Roman senatorial families, who held vast estates and possessed 
great wealth. From these families the king chose the great officers of 
state and the people of the cities chose their bishops; thus there was 
added to their wealth political power, or the veneration attaching to 

Origin of Vassalage 151 

“Same office of the priesthood. The Franks who possessed large 
ecame assimilated to these Roman senators and there thus grew 
up an aristocracy composed of members of the two races. 

_ In consequence of the troublous times which were the rule in Gaul 
in the seventh century, the poor and the weak could not depend on the 
protection of the State, and sought protection from one or other of these 
powerful personages, ‘They put themselves under his mundeburdis as it 
was called in Germanic ; they ‘commended ” themselves to him, accord- 
ing to the expression borrowed from Roman usage, and this expression 
is suitable enough, for they became in fact clients of these great men. 
The patron undertook to maintain his clients, to support them in 
law cases, to further their interests; in return, the client promised to 
serve his patron on all occasions, to defend him if he were attacked, 
and to take the field along with him if he attacked anyone else. Each 
of these great personages had thus under his orders a more or less 
numerous body of men. To mark these new social conditions new terms 
were created, or a new sense was given to ancient terms. The protector 
was called the senior; the client was called vassus. In the Salic law 
the term vassal simply meant a slave attached to the personal service 
of his master; at the close of the Merovingian period it always 
means one of these voluntary dependents. Those who felt the need 
of protection could “commend” themselves not only to wealthy 
private persons but also to royal officers, to the dukes and counts, 
to the officials of the palace; but above all they could commend 
themselves to the king himself. In that case the sovereign exercised 
a double authority over them; first, his public authority as king, and 
secondly a more special protection, parallel, in so far, to that of the 
seignior. In time the strength of the king came to depend in large 
measure on the number of his vassals. The subjection of the individual 
to the State was replaced by a personal subjection to the king, and the 
population of the country came to be composed of groups of men bound 
to one another by personal ties. Thus we find the germs of the feudal 
system already present in the seventh century. 

A time was to come when to this subordination of persons there 
should be added a subordination of lands. In order to understand this 
evolution, which was to have so great a historical importance, we must 
first examine the conditions on which property was held. 

With the exception of the towns the soil of Gaul was divided, in 
the Merovingian period, into large estates, called villae or fundi. 'These 
estates usually bore the name of their original holder; thus the villae 
called Victoriacus had belonged to a man named Victorius, and the 
modern villages which have descended from these villae have kept the 
old names. Variously transformed according to the district in which 
they lie, they are known to-day as Vitrac, Vitrec, Vitré, Vitrey or Vitry. 
Similarly villae bearing the name Sabiniacus have become our villages 

CH. V. 

15205." The Merovingian Villa 

of Savignae, Savignec, Sévigné, Savigneux. Many of these estates, 
especially in the north and east, changed their names after the invasions, 
taking the names of their barbarian owners. ‘Thus Theodonis villa, 
Thionville, Ramberti villare, Rambervillers, Arnulfi curtis, Harcourt, 
Bodegiseli vallis, Bougival near Paris. In the seventh century some 
estates took the name of the saint to whom the church was dedicated : 
Dompierre, Dommartin, St Pierre, St Martin. Some villae again took 
their names from some particular variety of trees or plantations ; 
Roboretum has become Rouvray, Rouvres ; Rosariae and Cannaberiae have 
given us the names of our modern villages Rosiéres and Chennevieres. 
It often happened that through sale, exchange or division among 
brothers, a villa was divided between several owners, but it none the 
less retained its unity and organisation. ht 

The lands of the villa were divided into two portions. One, consisting 
of the lands lying round about the house of the owner, was farmed 
directly by him. The other portion was divided up into lots or holdings 
(mansi), of which the owner gave the use to his slaves, his lid2, or to 
freemen ; whence comes the distinction between mansi serviles, lidiles and 
ingenuiles, of which we have spoken above. Each tenant cultivated his 
holding for his own profit, but in return for its use was obliged to pay a 
rent to the owner and to render him certain services. The houses 
occupied by the tenants were either isolated, in the mountainous districts, 
or grouped together within a small area. <A villa was self-sufficing ; 
besides the cultivators there were the workmen who made or repaired 
the tools and implements. There was a mill and a wine-press which 
served the whole population of the vid/a, and often there was a forge 
also. It had its own chapel, of which the priest (often born on the 
estate) was appointed by the master, with the consent of the bishop. 
The woods surrounding the villa remained in possession of the land- 
owner, but he gave the tenants rights of user. Over all the dwellers 
on the estate he exercised a seigniorial jurisdiction. 

There still existed, no doubt, alongside of the great estates or villae 
a number of small estates belonging to freemen. But these small estates 
tended to disappear in the course of the seventh century. The fact was 
that the small proprietors were unable to defend their estates ; they had 
no inducement to sell them, for money would have been of little value to 
them ; accordingly they ‘‘commended themselves” to some great man 
of the neighbourhood, handing over their property to him. He in 
turn gave them the use of it for life, and thus they were at least certain 
of occupying it in security until the end of their days. Previously they 
had held their lands ex alode or de alode parentum, by inheritance 
from their ancestors, with the right of using it as they chose ; henceforth 
they held it per beneficiwm, in consequence of a grant made by the 
great seignior. When agreements of this kind became frequent, two 
varieties of landed property were distinguished, allodial lands which 

Origin of the Benefice 153 

were held by the owner in person, and “ benefices,” of which the use 
was granted by a large proprietor to another person during the lifetime 
of the latter. 

Many circumstances contributed to multiply these benefices. The 
Church, which had large estates and could not get them all cultivated 
by its serfs, Zdi and coloni, let parts of them to freemen, who culti- 
vated them, and at the death of the tenant the land returned, in an 
improved condition, into the hands of the Church. This mode of 
tenure was already known to the Roman law (precarium). It sometimes 
happened that in exchange for a grant of this kind, the grantee made 
a gift to the Church of an estate of similar value belonging to himself. 
Thenceforward he had the usufruct of both estates, that of the Church 
as well as his own; but at his death the Church took possession of both. 
The grantee had the advantage during his life of a doubled income, and 
on his death the Church doubled its property. But it often happened 
that the Church, which was, as we know, very powerful, received the 
lands of private persons in the manner described without adding any- 
thing of its own, only conceding to the former owner a life-use of the 
property. ‘Thus in various ways the allodial lands disappeared, and 
benefices became every day more numerous. 

Up to this point we have seen the beneficiaries solicit the benefice 
and take the initiative in obtaining it. These beneficiaries remained 
bound by ties of gratitude to their benefactor, they exerted themselves 
to serve him and marched with him when he went to battle; they were 
his vassi. Before long a man’s power was measured by the number 
of his vassi, the army of his clients; and then the great men, in 
order to increase their clientage, and consequently their influence, began 
themselves to offer benefices to those whom they desired to attach to 
themselves and gain as adherents. 

The king, or the Mayor of the Palace who replaced him, needed to 
be able to count on the great men for the wars, whether foreign or civil, 
in which he engaged. Obligation towards the State was too abstract a 
conception to be understood, and the mere sense of duty was not strong 
enough to keep the great men loyal. The king therefore began to 
distribute lands to these great men. At first he gave them abso- 
lutely, but before long these lands were assimilated to the benetices. 
This evolution took place especially at the time when Charles Martel 
laid hands upon the property of the Church and distributed it in his 
own name to his warriors. The property of the Church was inalienable, 
it could not be given as an absolute possession. The warriors were only 
the life-tenants of it, and at their death it reverted to the Church. 
These estates were therefore simply ecclesiastical benefices, granted 
by the king or the mayor. Once this precedent had been established, 
estates granted by the king from his own lands were granted on the 
same conditions, merely for the lifetime of the grantee. 

CH. V. 

154 Charters of Immunity 

Another great change took place about the same time. One reason 
why Charles Martel made grants of ecclesiastical property to his warriors 
was that they had now to support great expense. They served in his 
armies no longer as foot soldiers but as cavalry, and their equipment was 
very costly. The revenue of the lands which were granted to them 
served as an indemnity against the expenses of military service. Thus 
it came to be considered that the benefice carried with it the obligation 
of military service. Under Charles the Great, the holders of royal lands 
were bound to be first at the muster; and before long it was an under- 
stood thing that, when a private person who had granted benefices 
marched to the wars, all his beneficiaries, who were also his vassals, must 
accompany him. Thus at the end of the Merovingian period the 
characteristics of the later fief are taking shape. The eleventh century 
fief is the direct descendant of the eighth century benefice, of which we 
have just traced the origin. 

Another characteristic of the fief is that the holder of it exercises 
thereon all the powers of the State: he levies taxes, administers Justice 
and summons the men of the fief to follow him to war. Now even in the 
Merovingian period on some of the great domains the State resigned a 
portion of its rights to the proprietor or seignior, and thus we find present, 
from this time onward, all the germs of the feudal system. We have 
seen how great were the powers of the count and the other royal officials : 
they often abused these powers, and the proprietors of the great estates 
complained to the king of their tyranny. In many cases the king listened 
to their complaints and gave them charters of immunity forbidding 
all public officials to enter their estates, to claim right of lodging, to try 
causes, to levy the fredus or other impost, or to compel the men to attend 
the muster of the royal army. Thenceforward the men of this privileged 
territory had nothing more to do with the agents of the government ; 
the agents of the proprietor took their place; and before long the 
proprietor himself levied the former state-taxes, judged cases in his 
private court and regarded it as within his competence to deal with all 
offences committed upon his domain. He led his men in person to join 
the royal army, and he was naturally tempted to use them also in 
the prosecution of his private quarrels. If we remember the extent of 
some of the domains, which comprised a number of villae and were some- 
times as large as a modern canton, we see how great was the area which 
was withdrawn from the authority of the royal officials, if not from that 
of the king himself. The estates which enjoyed these immunities were 
veritable seigniories. Alongside of the institutions of the State there had 
thus arisen another set of institutions which came into collision with the 
former and brought about the decay of the authority of the State. All 
the elements of feudalism—commendations, benefices, and immunities 
—are in existence without its being possible to say that feudalism is as 
yet constituted, because the elements are not combined into a system. 

Industry and Commerce 155 

But before this system came into operation Charles the Great was to 
re-establish a strong centralised government ; he was to make these social 
forces serve the interests of the State itself, and by his genius was to 
restore with incomparable brilliancy that Frankish monarchy which at 
the close of the Merovingian period had seemed likely to disappear. 

The Merovingian period as a whole is without doubt a melancholy 
period. It marks in history what must be called an eclipse of civilisation, 
and it deserves to be described as a barbaric era. Nevertheless, it must 
not be imagined that the two hundred and seventy years which it 
includes were, so to speak, sunk in unbroken gloom. Even in this period 
it is possible to note some facts concerning industry and commerce, arts 
and letters. 

Industry found refuge chiefly in the country districts, where each 
estate produced for itself all the supplies necessary to agricultural work 
and common life. The towns themselves took on a country-like air. 
The ancient buildings—temples, basilicas, baths—had been destroyed 
during the invasions and their ruins lay on the ground; the only con- 
siderable buildings now erected were churches. A sparse population 
occupied rather than filled the space surrounded by the half-ruined 
walls. Many houses had disappeared and wide areas lay vacant ; 
these were turned into fields or vineyards, and thus in the interior 
of formerly populous cities there were closes and culturae. Outside the 
ramparts there rose, in many cases, a high-walled monastery—a sacred 
city alongside of the secular city—and these monasteries became new 
centres of population. Within the decayed cities we nevertheless find, 
at all events at first, some traces of industry. ‘There is mention in the 
sixth and seventh centuries of workshops for the manufacture of cloth at 
Tréves, at Metz and at Rheims. There were also potteries, and numerous 
specimens of their art have been found in the tombs. ‘The Merovingians 
had a taste for finely wrought arms, for sword-belt buckles of damascene 
work, for jewellery and gold-plate. The Merovingian goldsmiths were 
skilful. Eligius, son of a minter at Limoges, attained by the aid of his 
art to the highest posts; he became the counsellor of Dagobert and bishop 
of Noyon. There was also in the Merovingian period a certain amount 
of commercial activity. The Franks imported from abroad spices, 
papyrus and silk fabrics. This merchandise was either brought to the 
ports of Marseilles, Arles and Narbonne, or came by way of the Black 
Sea and the Danube. In the time of Dagobert a Frankish merchant 
named Samo went to trade on the banks of the Elbe, and there formed 
a great Slav kingdom which had its centre in Bohemia, and extended from 
the Havel to the Styrian Alps. The merchants of the town of Verdun 
formed an association in the time of Theudibert, about 540. The king 
aided them by lending them, at the request of the bishop Desiderius, 7000 
aurei. They were thus enabled to put their business on a sound footing, 

CH. V. 

156 Venantius Fortunatus 

and in the time of Gregory of Tours the wealth of these merchants was 
renowned. But commerce was chiefly in the hands of Byzantines and 
Jews. The Byzantines, who were generally known by the name of 
Syrians, whether they came from Asia or from Europe, had important 
trading-stations at Marseilles, at Bordeaux, at Orleans. When in 585 
Guntram made his entry into the last-named city he was welcomed with 
cries of acclamation in the Syriac language. Simeon Stylites conversed. 
with Syrian merchants who had seen Ste Genevieve at Paris. In 591 a 
Syrian named Eusebius was even appointed bishop of Paris, and gave 
offices in the Church to his compatriots. The Jews, on their part, formed 
prosperous colonies. Maintaining friendly relations with their co- 
religionists in Italy, Spain, and the East, they were able to give a wide 
extension to their business, and, as the Christian Church forbade the 
lending of money at interest, all dealing in money, all banking business, 
was soon in their hands. Five hundred Jews were settled at Clermont- 
Ferrand ; at Marseilles and Narbonne they were more numerous still. 
The Jew Priscus acted as agent in purchases made by King Chilperic, who 
held disputations with him concerning the Holy Trinity. 

Intellectual culture naturally declined during the Merovingian 
period. Nevertheless in the sixth century there are still two names 
which are celebrated in the history of literature, those of the poet 
Fortunatus and the historian Gregory of Tours. Fortunatus, it is 
true, was born in Italy and educated in the Schools of Ravenna; but 
his verses, with their wealth of mythological allusions, pleased the taste 
of the Frankish lords and the Merovingian kings, of whom he was 
to some extent a flatterer. He sang the praises of all the monarchs 
of his period, Charibert, Sigebert and Chilperic; he even lavished 
on Fredegund his paid panegyrics : 

Omnibus excellens meritis Fredegundis opima. 

Becoming the adviser of Queen Radegund he settled in her neigh- 
bourhood at Poitiers. He there became first priest, and then bishop. 
It was at this period that he wrote those charming notes in verse, 
thanking Radegund for the delicacies which she sent him and describing, 
with a slightly sensual gowrmandise, the pleasure he derived from a good 
dinner; but at the same time he finds a more energetic strain in which 
to deplore the sorrows of Thuringia. And, also doubtless at the request 
of his patroness, he wrote the fine hymns which the Church still uses in 
the Vewilla regis prodeunt and the Pange lingua. 

If Fortunatus was the sole poet of the Merovingian period Gregory 
of 'Tours is almost the sole historian. In his work, the History of the 
Franks, this troublous period lives again, with its vices, crimes and 
passions. The portraits which he gives us of Chilperic, Guntram and 
Brunhild are painted with extraordinary vividness. His work manifests 
real literary power. Critics sometimes speak of the naiveté of Gregory, 

Gregory of Tours 157 

but we must not deceive ourselves; this naiveté is a matter of deliberate 
art. Gregory does not of course observe strict grammatical correctness ; 
he is by no means Ciceronian ; he writes the language as it was spoken 
in his day. Ina few passages only, where he is obviously writing with 
conscious effort, he employs rare and poetical expressions, as for example 
in the account of the baptism of Clovis, in the description of Dijon, in 
the narrative of his quarrels with Count Leudastes. But to these we 
prefer those pages where he lets himself go, and writes with his natural 
vigour, where he slips in malicious reflexions as it were unconsciously, or 
where he excoriates his adversaries. He has the real gift of story-telling 
and has justly been called the barbarian Herodotus. After his day 
all culture disappeared. A vast difference separates him from his 
continuator, the chronicler who has been named—we do not know for 
what reason—Fredegar. The chronicle of Fredegar is composed of 
scraps and fragments from various sources. One of the authors from 
whom extracts are made writes, “The world is growing old; the keenness 
of intelligence is becoming blunted in us; no one in the present age can 
compare with the orators of past times,” and this.phrase might be applied 
to the whole of the work. Nevertheless there are still found in Fredegar 
attempts at portraits of some of the Mayors of the Palace, Bertoald, 
Protadius, Aega, whereas in the last chronicler of the period, the Neustrian 
who compiled the Liber Historiae F'rancorum, there is no longer any- 
thing of that kind; it is a very meagre chronicle of the rois fainéants. 
The lives of the saints, which are still numerous enough, are singularly 
monotonous; they rarely inform us of any facts and are as like each 
other as one ecclesiastical image is to another. 

A certain number of churches were built during the Merovingian 
period, such as those of Clermont, Nantes and Lyons, without counting 
the abbey churches such as St Martin de Tours and St Vincent or 
St Germain-des-Prés at Paris, but of these great buildings no trace 
remains to us. The only remnants of buildings of this period belong to 
less important edifices, such as the baptisteries of Riez in Provence and 
St Jean de Poitiers, the crypt of St Laurent at Grenoble, and of 
the abbey of Jouarre. The great churches which are known to us from 
descriptions generally have a nave and two side-aisles with a transept, and 
are in the form of a Latin cross. At the point of intersection of nave and 
transept there was a tower, which at first served by way of “ Lantern,” 
but afterwards to hang bells in. On the walls were placed numerous 
inscriptions, sentences taken from the Scriptures, verses in honour of the 
saints. Pictures recalled to the faithful the history of the saints or 
scenes from Scripture. Often, instead of pictures the walls, as well as 
the floor, were covered with mosaic-work in which gold was freely used ; 
a basilica at Toulouse was known for this reason as la Daurade. Sculpture 
in high relief was unknown, even in bas-reliefs the human figure appears 
very rarely after the sixth century. The artists could no longer even 

CH. V. 

158 Merovingian Art 

trace the outlines of animals, they drew conventional animals which are 
difficult to recognise, geometrical designs or roseate and foliate forms. 

Some houses which Fortunatus describes to us seem still to have had 
a fine appearance. Such was the castle built by Nicetius, bishop of 
Tréves, on a hill overlooking the Moselle. The single entrance gate was 
commanded by a tower; a mechanical contrivance raised water from the 
river to turn a mill. This is quite a medieval donjon-keep. There 
were great houses too at Bissonnum and Vereginis villa, belonging to 
the bishop Leontius of Bordeaux, where under porticoes formed by 
three rows of columns guests could promenade sheltered from rays of 
the sun. But such dwellings must have been exceptional ; the ordinary 
houses surrounded by the necessary appurtenances must have resembled 
farms rather than castles. Merovingian art however is mainly repre- 
sented by the numerous pieces of jewellery which have been discovered, 
as was mentioned earlier. This art is certainly of Oriental origin: it 
was practised not among the Franks only, but among the other bar- 
barian peoples of the West, and even here are found the same decorative 

In art as well as in literature the seventh century and beginning 
of the eighth are marked by a profound decadence. But just at the 
period of blackest barbarism the Frankish kingdom came into contact 
with Italy, the mother of arts and sciences, where the monuments of 
antiquity were preserved; and with England, where the monks still 
studied in their cloisters, and where the Venerable Bede had founded a 
school of worthy disciples. The Anglo-Saxons and the Italians brought 
to the Franks the treasures they had safely guarded; the Emperor 
Charles the Great recognised that it belonge3’ to the duties of his office 
to spread enlightenment, to foster art and literature; and at length, 
after this night of darkness, there shone forth the brilliance of a true 




Or the Gothic kings, it was Euric who really conquered the Iberian 
peninsula. We cannot indeed exactly determine the extent of his 
conquests. If we accepted in their literal signification the words of 
Jordanes, totas Hispanias, we should have to believe that Euric ruled 
over the whole peninsula; but those words are inexact, because we 
must except not only the Suevic State, but also other territories of the 
south and centre, which were not conquered by the Visigoths until 
considerably later. St Isidore, with reference to the campaigns of Euric, 
uses the words Hispania superior, which Hinojosa takes to mean Spain 
with the exception of Vasconia, Cantabria, and possibly the two 
Conventus of Saragossa and Clunia. Other writers allude to the con- 
quest of districts in the north-east and south-east ; and lastly, from the 
decrees of various councils held between 516 and 546, and from other 
evidence, we conclude that, near the end of the fifth century, the Visigoths 
held in Spain practically the whole of the ancient province Tarraconensis 
with the almost certain exception of part of Vasconia—most of the 
provinces of Carthaginensis and some portion of Baetica and Lusitania, 
and Galicia; while the rest of Lusitania remained in the hands of the 
Sueves, and the Balearic Isles still belonged to the Empire. In Gaul 
the Visigothic kingdom was bounded on the north-west by the Franks, 
on the north-east by the kingdom of Syagrius, and on the east by the 
Burgundians; thus it stretched from the Loire to the Pyrenees, and 
from the Atlantic to Arles. 

International complications immediately confronted the Visigothic 
king, Alaric II (485-507). They originated in the ambition of the 
Frankish king, Clovis, whose predecessors had fought against Euric. 
The first encounter between the two powers was brought about by Clovis’ 
invasion (486) of the kingdom of Syagrius, whom he defeated, and 
forced to take refuge in Toulouse, under the protection of Alaric. The 
Frank demanded his surrender. According to Gregory of Tours, Alaric 
was afraid of incurring the wrath of Clovis, and consented to give up 
Syagrius. -But this docility on the part of Alaric did not deter Clovis 
rom his determination to take possession of as much of Visigothic 
Zaul as possible. He could rely on a good deal of help from the 
sutcome of his conversion to Catholicism in 496. The clergy and the 

CH. VI. 

160 Battle of Vouglé [507 

Catholic inhabitants of Gaul, both in the Burgundian and in the 
Visigothic provinces, looked upon Clovis as the leader destined to deliver 
them from Arian oppression. Even during the reign of Euric, there 
had been serious disagreement between the Catholic element and the 
monarch, which had given rise to persecution. The ground was there- 
fore well prepared, and from the evidence of contemporary chroniclers 
it is clear that Clovis did not fail to take advantage of this inclination 
on the part of the Catholics, and that he stirred up public opinion in 
his favour. This led Alaric to adopt rigorous measures in the case of 
sundry Catholic bishops, whom he banished on the more or less well- 
founded charge of conspiring with the Franks. In due course Alaric 
prepared for war. He summoned to arms all his subjects, Visigoths and 
Gallo-Romans, clergy and laymen, collected sums of money, and when war 
was imminent (506) he tried to conciliate the Catholic clergy and the 
Roman element as a whole by the publication of the code which bears 
his name (the Breviarium Alarici), and by other demonstrations of 
tolerance. The code consisted of passages of Roman Law, which only 
applied to questions of private legislation among the non-Visigothic 
population. Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, who was related by 
marriage to Alaric and Clovis, attempted to avert war by personal 
mediation, to which, at his instigation, were added the entreaties of the 
Burgundians, Thuringians, Warni and Heruli, old friends of Euric. 
This mediation, to which Cassiodorus alludes, only served to postpone the 

War broke out in 507. On the part of Clovis it was a war of 
religion, to free Gaul from the Arian heretics. Yet his policy was not 
quite so effectual as we might have expected, for a considerable part of 
Alaric’s Catholic subjects fought on his side, displaying great courage. 
This was the case with the people of Auvergne, who, under the command 
of Apollinaris, son of the famous bishop Sidonius, formed an important 
element of the Visigothic army. It was a short campaign. The decisive 
battle was fought in the Campus Vocladensis, which seems to corre- 
spond to Vouillé, near Poitiers, on the banks of the river Clain?. 
The battle proved disastrous to Alaric, who was himself. slain by 
Clovis. As a result of this victory, the Franks possessed themselves 
of the greater part of Gothic Gaul. At the close of 507, Clovis 
seized Bordeaux ; in the spring of 508, he took Toulouse, where he laid 
hands on the treasure of Alaric ; shortly afterwards, he entered Angouléme. 
His son Theodoric conquered the country round Albi and Rodez, and 
the small towns on the Burgundian frontier. Moreover, the dibedees of 
Eauze, Bazas and Auch were incorporated into the Frankish kingdom. 
To the Visigoths remained only the district afterwards called Septimani 
bounded by the Cevennes, the Rhone and the sea, with its capital a 

' There is some dispute about the exact site 

“ge Death of Clovis 161 

by the Burgundians, at that time the allies of Clovis. He fled to 
Barcelona, whence he was expelled by the troops of Theodoric. He 
then took refuge in Africa at the court of the king of the Vandals, 
who refused to support his claims; afterwards, under the protection of 
Clovis, he returned to Gaul, and was killed there. Meanwhile, the 
Burgundians, who had taken possession of Narbonne, combined with 
the Franks, and besieged Aries: but they were defeated by the army of 
Theodoric, under command of his general Ibbas, who compelled them to 
withdraw from Carcassonne. Thus, almost all the cities of the province 
of Narbonne, including the capital, were reconquered, and the whole of 
Visigothic Spain was placed in subjection to Theodoric, albeit in the 
name of Amalaric. The final episode of the war was the raising of the 
siege of Arles in 510; this city was heroically defended by its inhabitants 
assisted by the Ostrogothic general Tulum. Shortly afterwards (511) 
Clovis died, and the city of Rodez reverted to the Visigoths. The part 
of Provence which Theodoric had conquered remained, for the time 
being, united to the other territories, but, on the death of Theodoric, 
it became part of the Ostrogothic kingdom in consequence of a treaty 
between Amalaric and Theodoric’s successor Athalaric. 

As regards internal policy, matters were settled on the following 
terms: Amalaric, a minor, was to be king of the Visigoths, and his 
grandfather Theodoric acted as his guardian. Indeed, for fifteen years, 
Theodoric was the real ruler of the kingdom both in Gaul and Spain. 
Theodoric tried to make his rule agreeable to the Visigoths. He adhered 
to the system, privileges and customs of the time of Alaric; he remitted 
taxation in the districts which had been especially impoverished by the 
war; he supplied Arles with money and provisions, and in order that 
his troops might not prove a burden to the inhabitants, he sent them 
corn and gold from Italy. His conduct as a guardian was particularly 
advantageous to Spain. He there displayed all the wise and vigorous 
policy which had rendered so illustrious his rule in Italy and which was 
all the more vital to Spain on account of the immorality and anarchy 
which had crept into the government during the decline of the 
Empire. Theodoric recovered for the Crown the exclusive right to 
coin money, which was being exercised by a few private individuals ; he 

C. MED. H. VOL. II. CH. VI. 11 

162 Amalaric [526-533 

contrived to put an end to the extortions practised by the collectors of 
taxes and by the administrators of the royal patrimony (conductores 
villici) to the detriment of the State funds. It appears that, in the 
name of Theodoric, the Peninsula was at one time governed by two 
officials, viz. Ampelius and Liberius, and at another by one alone, viz. 
Theudis. Some of the chronicles allude to these officials as consules, 
and it is probable that their authority extended over every branch of 
the administration. On the death of Theodoric in 526, his ward 
Amalaric assumed complete royal power over the Visigoths. The Frankish 
peril, which had hitherto been held at bay by the prestige of the Ostro- 
goths, still presented a threatening aspect. The sons of Clovis were 
longing to extend their dominion in Gaul by the conquest of the part 
occupied by the Visigoths. Amalaric attempted to avert the danger 
by means of an alliance and, after repeated demands, he succeeded in 
obtaining the hand of Clotilda, daughter of Clovis; but this marriage, 
which he had regarded as a means of salvation, supplied the Frankish 
kings with the very pretext they desired. Amalaric did his utmost to 
make Clotilda abjure the Catholic Faith and embrace Arianism, and 
according to Gregory of Tours actually ill-treated her. Clotilda made 
complaint to her brother Childebert, and he hastened to declare open 
war in Septimania. Near Narbonne he defeated the army of Amalaric 
(531); the latter fled, but, according to Jordanes and Isidore, he was 
shortly afterwards slain by his own soldiers. Childebert took possession 
of Narbonne, where he joined his sister, and seized considerable treasure. 

The position of the Visigoths could hardly have been worse. With- 
out the hope of finding a powerful defender such as Theodoric, they 
found themselves threatened by the Franks, a nation naturally war- 
like, and further emboldened by its conquest of Aquitaine. In fact, 
dating from the defeat of Amalaric, the Visigothic kingdom may be 
regarded as consisting of Spanish territory, and its capital was then 
transferred from Gaul to the Iberian peninsula. But they had the 
good fortune to find a man who was equal to the occasion. This was 
Theudis the Ostrogoth, who had been governor of Spain in the time 
of Theodoric, and who had settled in the Peninsula, where he had 
married a very wealthy Spanish woman, the owner, according to 
Procopius, of more than 2000 slaves and dependents. When Theudis 
had been formally elected king, he began to make preparations for the 
ejection of the Franks, who, in this same year (531), had entered the 
kingdom by way of Cantabria, and in 582 had annexed a small territory 
near Béziers. In 533 Childebert joined forces with his brother, Chlotar I, 
invaded Navarre, took possession of Pampeluna, and marched as far as 
Saragossa, to which he laid siege. The inhabitants resisted bravely: 
thus the Visigoths had time to send two armies to their assistance ; ‘of 
these one was commanded by Theudis himself, and the other by his 
general Theudegesil. At their approach the Franks retreated as far 

33-554 | A thanagild 163 

us the Pyrenees. They were seriously defeated by the army of Theudis ; 
out’ Theudegesil, whom they succeeded in bribing, permitted them to 
scape, and to bear with them the treasures which they had acquired 
luring the campaign. Among these was the body of St Vincent, the 
martyr, for which they built near Paris a church, that afterwards known 
is St Germain-des-Prés. After having thus ejected the Franks, Theudis 
undertook an expedition to the coast of Africa, which was being conquered 
by the army of the Byzantines. By this expedition, made in 543, Theudis 
only acquired temporary possession of Ceuta, which was shortly after- 
wards retaken by the Emperor, for in 544 Justinian alludes to it as his 
own. Four years later, in 548, Theudis was assassinated in Seville by 
4 man who pretended to be mad. His successor, Theudegesil, only 
reigned for sixteen months. We know nothing more of him than that 
he was a man of immoral conduct, and that in 549 he too was assassi- 
nated in Seville. 

The fact that the Visigoths possessed Seville does not mean that they 
ruled over the whole of Baetica. On the contrary, the greater part of 
it was independent, controlled by the Spanish-Roman nobles, who since 
the time of Majorian, and even before, had obtained possession of the 
country. Agila, the successor of Theudegesil, set himself to conquer 
these independent territories; he was defeated before Cordova by the 
Andalusians, who slew his son, and possessed themselves of the royal 
treasure. ‘This defeat (which the chroniclers regard as a divine punishment 
for Agila’s profanation of the tomb of St Acisclus), his tyrannical 
behaviour and his hostility to the Catholics, who constituted the bulk 
of the Spanish population, were turned to account by Athanagild, a 
Visigothic noble who had designs on the crown. In order to make sure 
of success, he solicited the support of the Emperor Justinian, who sent 
nim a powerful army under the command of his general Liberius (544). 
The Byzantines were probably assisted by the inhabitants of the country 
who, on account of their Catholic Faith, were bound to welcome the 
mperial forces and the person of Athanagild, concerning whom Isidore 
1imself states that he was secretly a Catholic. They had, therefore, no 
lifficulty in possessing themselves of the most important towns on the 
‘oasts of the Mediterranean, more particularly those in the east and 
outh, i.e. the district round Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia. Agila 
was defeated near Seville by the combined forces of Athanagild and 
Liberius, and withdrew to Mérida, where he was assassinated by his own 
‘ollowers, who forthwith acknowledged the usurper. <i. 

Thus when Athanagild became king in 554, the power of Justinian 
n the Peninsula was extensive, for he was not content with playing the 
yart of helper, but claimed a substantial acknowledgment of his services. 
t is probable that Athanagild rewarded him by an offer of territory, but 
ve have no exact information on the subject, because the text of the treaty 
vhich ensued has not been preserved. But it is certain that Liberius 

CH. VI 11—2 

164 Brunhild and Galswintha [ 554567 

encroached on the boundaries agreed upon, for he seized all the land lying 
between the Guadalquivir and the Jucar (going from west to east), 
together with that between the sea and the mountains of Gibalbin, 
Ronda, Antequera and Loja, the Picacho de Veleta, the mountains of 
Jaen, Segura and Alcaraz, the pass of Almansa (in the province now 
called Albacete), the territories of Villena, Monovar and Villajoyosa 
(from the south-west and the north-east, following the line of the 
Penibaetian mountain range, and the continuation on the east which 
connects it with Ibérica). The situation was all the more serious 
because to the great military strength of the Eastern Empire was now 
added the aggregate force of all the Spanish-Roman element in Baetica 
and Carthaginensis, that is to say, all who had remained independent 
of the Visigoths, and whom Agila had attempted to subdue. These 
Spanish-Romans who, by reason of their religion, were opposed to the 
Visigoths, naturally regarded the rule of Justinian as the prolongation 
of the Empire whereof they had formed a part until the coming of the 
Goths. Hence the tradition that the inhabitants of these regions 
rebelled against the Visigoths and proclaimed Justinian as their sovereign 
is most probably authentic. 

Athanagild did not submit to this treachery, but immediately pro- 
ceeded to make war on the Byzantines, and established his capital at 
Toledo, an excellent position from the strategical point of view. He 
attempted to flatter the Catholics, by means of a benevolent policy, 
which was intended to estrange them from the Empire. The war 
lasted for thirteen years, that is, throughout the whole of the reign of 
Athanagild, who had also to fight against the Franks in order to defend 
Septimania, which was still in the hands of the Visigoths, and against 
the Vascons, who were continually struggling for independence. But 
this perpetual warfare did not prevent Athanagild from strengthening 
his kingdom from within, or from increasing its prosperity. The fame 
of his wealth and the splendour of his court; the fame of his two 
daughters, Brunhild and Galswintha, spread to the neighbouring 
kingdoms. ‘Two Frankish kings, Sigebert of Austrasia and Chilperic of 
Neustria, were inspired thereby to seek an alliance with him; the former 
became the husband of Brunhild and the latter of Galswintha. Of 
these marriages, and more particularly of the second, which took place in 
567 and ended in tragedy, we possess detailed accounts in the chronicle 
of Gregory of Tours, and in the Carminum Liber of Venantius Fortunatus. 
A few months after the marriage of Galswintha, Athanagild died at 
Toledo (Nov. or Dec. 567). 

The throne remained vacant for several months, until the spring of 
568, but we do not know the reason of this. The interregnum came to 
an end with the accession of Liuwa or Leuwa, a brother of Athanagild, 
who (why or for what purpose we are unable to say) shared the govern- 
ment with his brother Leovigild or Liuvigild, to whom he entrusted 

128580 | Leovigild. The Sueves 165 

the Spanish part, keeping for himself the territory in Gaul. It has been 
observed that John of Biclar, a chronicler of the latter part of the 
sixth century, states that Leovigild obtained Hispania Citerior. 'This 
phrase seems to confirm what has been said before, that from the 
beginning of the reign of Athanagild, Hispania Ulterior, or the greater 
part of the districts which belonged to it, was either in the hands of the 
Byzantines or, at any rate, was not loyal to the Visigoths. This evidence, 
viewed in connexion with the results of Leovigild’s campaigns, shews 
that several districts: of north-western Spain, such as Oviedo, Leon, 
Palencia, Zamora, Ciudad Rodrigo, etc., were independent, under petty 
princes or rulers, the majority of whom belonged to the Spanish-Roman 
10bility : it also shews that the district of Vasconia could only nominally 
9e considered as belonging to the Visigothic kingdom. 

To remedy this, Leovigild adopted as a guiding principle the ideal 
of hegemony in the Peninsula. He began by surrounding himself with 
ll the external pomp which adds so much to the prestige of a sovereign ; 
1e adopted the ceremonial of the Emperors and celebrated his proclama- 
ion in Toledo by striking gold medals, bearing an effigy of himself 
n regal vestments. But he did this with a view to his relations 
owards his subjects, and took care not to arouse the jealousy of 
he Empire: on the contrary, he made use of it to further his own 
lesigns. He revived the former connexion between the Visigothic 
ings and the Emperors, by communicating to Justin II the news of 
lis election as king, and by acknowledging his authority he made a 
ruce with the Byzantine army in the Peninsula, and persuaded it to 
oin with him in opposing the advance of the Sueves. 

We hear very little of the Sueves. Since the year 428, when 
hey had been delivered from their barbarous enemies, the Vandals, 
hey had been trying tu obtain possession of the territories formerly 
ccupied by the latter, which extended towards the south-east and 
outh-west of the Peninsula. This attempt at territorial expansion gave 
ise to constant wars, usually between the Sueves and the Romans, 
ometimes between the Sueves and the Visigoths, though in some cases 
he two barbarian powers united. (Thus Theodoric I allied with 
techiarius the Sueve against the Romans, and in 460, Theodoric II 
ith Remismund against Frumar, another petty king of the Sueves.) 
‘he consequence of this last alliance was that the Sueves, who were 
artly Catholics and partly Pagans, were converted to Arianism. In 
65, Remismund, with the help of the Visigoths, took possession of 
‘oimbra, and shortly afterwards of Lisbon and Anona. But in 466 
‘uric put an end to these friendly relations, and in a terrible war, to 
he horrors of which Idatius refers, he forced the Sueves to fall back on 
heir ancient possessions in the north-west. There is a considerable 
ap in the history of the Sueves, from 468—in which year the chronicle 
f Idatius comes to an end, until 550 when Carrarich appears as king. 

CH. VI. 

166 Campagns of Leovigild against the Sueves [559-573 

In the reign of Carrarich, or in that of Theodomir who succeeded him 
(559-570), this people was converted to Catholicism, through the influence 
of Martin, bishop of Braga (St Martin). During this same period, the 
Sueves had again extended their eastern and southern boundaries to 
the Navia in the province of Asturias, to the Orbigo and the Esla in 
Leon, to the Douro in the country of the Vettones, to the Coa and the 
Eljas where they join the Tagus, in the direction of Estremadura (west 
of Alcdntara), and in Lusitania to the Atlantic, by way of Abrantes, 
Leiria, and Parades. 

In 569 Leovigild began his campaign against the Sueves and the 
independent districts in the north-west. He very quickly took posses- 
sion of Zamora, Palencia and Leon, but Astorga resisted bravely. 
Nevertheless, the victories which he had gained sufficed to justify 
him in striking a new medal in commemoration of them. On this 
medal Leovigild stamped the bust of the Emperor Justin and applied 
to himself the adjective clarisstmus. In 570 we see Leovigild, for- 
getful of his protestations of submission, attacking the district called 
Bastania Malagnefia (the ancient Bastetania, which extended from 
Tarifa to Agra) where he defeated the imperial forces. Continuing the 
war in 571 and 572, he took Medina Sidonia (Asidona) and Cordova 
with their adjacent territories. These victories moved the Sueves, at 
that time ruled by King Mir or Miron, who in 570 had succeeded 
Theodomir and who possibly bore the same name, to make war in their 
turn. ‘They therefore invaded the country round Plasencia and Coria, 
Las Hurdes and Batuecas—that is, the valleys of the Jerte, Alagors 
and Arrago—and afterwards the territory of the Riccones?. 

In 573, whilst Leovigild was preparing to check the advance of the 
Sueves, he received the news of the death of his brother Liuwa, which 
left him king of all the Visigothic dominion. Immediately he made 
his two sons, Hermenegild and Recared, dukes of Narbonne and Toledo, 
although it is not certain which of the two duchies was given to which. 
He thus reassured himself in this direction, and, when he had secured 
the capital, he set forth on a new campaign in which he conquered the 
district of Sabaria, i.e. according to the best geographers, the valley of 
the Sabor, the province of Braganza, and Torre de Moncorvo, which 
bordered on the Suevic frontier. 

These expeditions were interrupted by internal troubles for which 
the nobles were responsible. From the political point of view the 
fundamental fact on which all the history of the Visigoths turns, is the 
opposition between the nobles and the kings. Of these, the nobles were 
continually struggling to maintain their predominance, and the right to 
bestow the crown on any one of their members, while the kings were 

* According to Fernandez Guerra the Riccones occupied the places now known 

as Jaraicejo, Trujillo, Logrosan and La Conquista, although other historians believe 
that their territory was nearer to Cantabria and Vasconia. 

574—578 | Internal Troubles 167 

continually endeavouring to suppress all possible rivals, and to make 
the succession to the throne hereditary or at any rate dynastic. Gregory 
of Tours states that the kings were in the habit of killing all the males 
who were in a position to compete with them for the crown; and the 
frequent confiscation of the property of the nobles to which the laws 
of the period refer, shews clearly the means to which the kings had 
recourse in the struggle. Whether Leovigild exceeded his power by 
dividing the kingdom between his two sons (and this is the view taken 
by Gregory of Tours); or whether he tried in general to lessen the 
authority of the nobles—and perhaps not only that of the Visigothic 
nobility, but also of the Spanish-Romans—the result was that the 
nobles stirred up several insurrections; first amongst the Cantabri, secondly 
amongst the people of Cordova and the Asturians, and thirdly, in 
Toledo and Evora, at a time when the Sueves and Byzantines were 
planning attacks. Leovigild, undismayed by these manifold dangers, 
attended to everything and, by dint of good luck, with the help of 
Recared, he succeeded in subduing the rebels. He took Ammaia 
(Amaya), the capital of the Cantabri; he obtained possession of 
Saldania (Saldafia), the stronghold of the Asturians; he quelled the 
insurgents in Toledo and Evora (Aebura Carpetana) and in every case 
he sealed his victories with terrible punishments (574). 

When he had suppressed these preliminary internal rebellions 
Leovigild proceeded to conquer various independent territories in the 
provinces of Galicia and Andalusia. The former consisted of the 
mountainous district known as Aregenses, situated in what is now the 
province of Orense, and of which a certain Aspidius was king. The 
Andalusians possessed the whole of the tract of country round the 
Orospeda mountains, from the hill of Molaton in the east of the present 
province of Albacete, to the Sierra Nevada, passing through the provinces 
of Murcia, Almeria and Granada, that is to say, the lands of the 
Deiittani, Bastetani and Oretani. In both parts of the country Leovigild 
was successful, but his victories, and especially those in the Orospeda 
mountains, which bordered on the Byzantine dominion, naturally excited 
the jealousy of the imperial governors. In order to check the progress 
of Leovigild, now threatening them at such close quarters, they stirred 
up fresh strife in the interior of the kingdom, instigating rebellions in 
the province of Narbonne, on the coasts of Catalonia and Valencia, and 
in the central region of the Ebro. Leovigild, assisted by his son 
Recared, also succeeded in suppressing these insurrections; he made 
triumphant entries into Narbonne, Saragossa, Loja, Rosas, Tarragona 
and Valencia, and punished the rebels with the utmost severity. ‘These 
campaigns, and the preceding ones in Galicia and Andalusia, lasted from 
575 to 578. A notable incident in them—which, although it had no 
connexion with the action of Leovigild, yet to some extent favoured his 
designs—was the attack made by the Byzantine general Romanus, son 

CH. VI. 

168 Religious Disumon [578-580 

of the patrician Anagartus, on part of Lusitania, in the direction of 
Coimbra and the valley of the Munda (i.e. the Mondego), which at that 
time was governed by a Suevic duke, who bore the title of king. 
Romanus seized this individual, his family and his treasure, and annexed 
the district to the Empire. Leovigild took advantage of this reverse 
to attack the Suevic frontier in the direction of Galicia, and the Suevic 
king Mir or Miron was obliged to sue for peace. The Visigothic 
monarch granted him a truce for a short time and meanwhile, in the 
district afterwards called Alcarria, he built a fortified city to which he 
gave the name of ecopolis in honour of Recared. There are still a 
few traces of it to be seen. 

From 578 to 580, there was a period of external peace, but on the 
other hand, these years marked the beginning of a civil war of graver 
import than any former one; for, in the first place, this war was 
concerned with religion; and in the second, with the rash ambition of 
one of Leovigild’s own sons. This was Prince Hermenegild; the 
struggle originated in the same way as the former contests between the 
Visigoths and the Franks. Once more, the cause of it was a Frankish 
princess, Ingundis, daughter of Sigebert, king of Austrasia, and of 
Brunhild, and therefore niece of Leovigild. In 579 Hermenegild 
married her, he being an Arian and she a Catholic. Immediately there 
was quarrelling at Court, not between husband and wife, but between 
Ingundis and her grandmother, Goisvintha, the widow of Athanagild, 
who had married Leovigild. Goisvintha was a zealous Arian and tried 
to convert her grand-daughter, first by flattery and afterwards by 
threats, ending, according to the chroniclers of the period, in violence, 
Nothing could shake the faith of Ingundis, but she made bitter 
complaints to the Spanish Catholics and the Franks. To prevent 
matters from going further, Leovigild sent his son to govern Seville, one 
of the frontier provinces. There Hermenegild found himself in an 
atmosphere essentially Catholic, and, at the instigation of his wife 
Ingundis and Archbishop Leander, he finally abjured Arianism. The 
news of his conversion gave fresh courage to the malcontent Spanish- 
Romans in Baetica, and the consequence was that Seville and other 
cities rebelled against Leovigild and proclaimed Hermenegild as king. 
The latter was rash enough to make the venture and fortified himself in 
Seville, with the help of the greater part of the Spanish, and of a few 
Visigothic nobles. It has been said that, on this occasion, Hermenegild 
did not receive the support of the Catholic clergy. This statement is 
possibly exaggerated. It is true that Gregory of Tours, John of Biclar, 
and Isidore condemn the revolt and call Hermenegild a usurper ; but 
this does not mean that, at the time of the rebellion, none of the 
clergy took his side. It is only reasonable to infer that he did receive 
some support from them. Though uniformity of religion on the Arian 
basis may have played an important part in Leovigild’s scheme of 

579-582 | ‘Revolt of the Vascons 169 

government; nevertheless, on this occasion, he did not allow himself 
to be led away by zeal, or by the irritation which the behaviour of his son 
must have aroused in him. Hitherto, he had been inconsistent in his 
treatment of the Catholics. He had frequently persecuted them—for 
instance, we learn from Isidore of Seville that John of Biclar was in 576 
banished to Barcelona for refusing to abjure his religion, and that, for 
ten years, he was subjected to constant oppression. Again, Leovigild 
had sometimes flattered the Catholics and complied with their desires. 
In 579 he adopted a policy of moderation. He sent ambassadors to 
his son to reduce him to submission, gave orders to his generals to act 
only on the defensive, and took active measures to prevent the clergy 
from supporting Hermenegild. The latter did not yield; on the con- 
trary, afraid that his father would take revenge, he sought the assistance 
of the Byzantines and the Sueves. 

Then Leovigild thought of establishing some form of agreement 
between Catholics and Arians, and convoked a synod, or general meeting 
of the Arian bishops, at Toledo, in 580. At this synod, it was agreed 
to modify the form to be used in the adoption of Arianism, substituting 
reception by the laying on of hands for the second baptism. As 
John of Biclar says, many Catholics, among whom was Vincent, bishop 
of Saragossa, accepted the formula and became Arians. Nevertheless, 
the majority remained faithful to Catholicism. Leovigild attempted 
to reduce this majority by conversions to Arianism, but when these 
were not forthcoming, he resorted to persecution. Isidore of Seville in 
his Historia says that the king banished a number of bishops and nobles, 
that he slew others, confiscated the property of the churches and of 
private individuals, deprived the Catholic clergy of their privileges, and 
only succeeded in converting a few priests and laymen. 

Meanwhile Hermenegild had strengthened his party by winning over 
to his cause important cities such as Mérida and Caceres. He twice defeated 
Duke Aion, who had been sent against him, and in commemoration of 
these victories, he coined medals after the manner of his father. 

But this serious struggle did not cause the king to neglect his other 
military duties. In 580, the Vascons rebelled once more, possibly 
under the influence of the Catholic insurrection in Baetica. In 581 
Leovigild went against them in person, and after much trouble succeeded 
in occupying a great part of Vasconia, and in taking possession of the 
city of Egessa (Egea-de-los-Caballeros). To clinch his success, he 
founded the city of Victoriacus (Vitoria) in a good strategical position. 
Having thus finished this campaign, Leovigild decided to take energetic 
action against his rebellious son. To this end, he spent several 
months of 582 in organising a powerful army, and, as soon as it was 
assembled, marched against and captured Caceres and Mérida. Where- 
upon the troops of Hermenegild retreated as far as the Guadalquivir, 
taking Seville as their centre of defence. 

CH. VI, 

170 Revolt of Hermenegild [583-586 

Before attacking the city, Leovigild set himself to make the Byzan- 
tines withdraw from their alliance with his son, and he ultimately 
succeeded. According to the chronicle of Gregory of Tours, his success 
was due partly to motives of political expedience and partly to a gift of 
30,000 gold coins. When he had thus secured himself in this direc- 
tion, Leovigild, in 583, marched on Seville. The first battle was fought 
before the Castle of Osset (San Juan de Alfarache), which he was 
not long in taking. Amongst the enemy, he found the Suevic king 
Miron, whom he compelled to return to Galicia. 

The siege of Seville lasted for two years. Hermenegild was not in 
the city, seeing that he had left it shortly before to go in search of fresh 
help from the Byzantines. He cannot have been successful, since he 
took refuge in Cordova, whither Leovigild advanced with the army. 
Convinced that all resistance was in vain, Hermenegild surrendered and 
prostrated himself before his father, who stripped him of his royal 
vestments and banished him to Valencia. Shortly afterwards, for some 
unknown reason, he caused him to be transferred to Tarragona, and 
entrusted to Duke Sigisbert, whom he ordered to guard his son closely, 
for his escape might lead to a fresh civil war. Sigisbert confined the 
prince in a dungeon, and repeatedly urged him to abjure Catholicism. 
Hermenegild stubbornly resisted, and was finally killed by Sigisbert 
(13 April 585). Leovigild is accused of the crime by our earliest 
authority, the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, but the best opinion 
acquits him of it. Hermenegild was afterwards canonised by the 
Catholic Church. 

Whilst the ambition of Hermenegild was thus ruthlessly cut short, 
his father’s was realised in the destruction of the kingdom of the 
Sueves. He did not lack a pretext: a noble called Andeca who, since 
the death of Miron in 583, had usurped the crown, in the following year 
proclaimed himself king of that people, disputing the rights of Miron’s 
son Eburic or Eboric, the ally of Leovigild, who at once invaded Suevic 
territory. As Isidore says, “with the utmost rapidity” he struck fear 
into the hearts of his enemies, completely vanquishing them at Portucale 
(Oporto) and Bracara (Braga), the only two battles fought during the 
campaign. Andeca was taken prisoner, forced to receive the tonsure, 
and banished to Pax Julia (Bejar). In 585, the Suevic kingdom was 
converted into a Visigothic province. Thus, it only remained for 
Leovigild to possess himself of the two districts held by the Byzantines — 
—one in the south of Portugal and west of Andalusia, and the other 
in the province of Carthagena—and to make the political unity of the 
Peninsula an accomplished fact. But it was not given to him to 
effect this. He died in 586, at a time when his army, under the 
command of Recared, was fighting in Septimania against the Franks 
who had twice again made the murder of Hermenegild a pretext for 
invading this remnant of Visigothic land. Even during the lifetime of 

586 | Reign of Recared | 171 

Leovigild, Guntram, king of Orleans, had made an invasion, and had also 
sent ships to Galicia to instigate an insurrection of the Sueves. The 
Franks were driven back by Recared and their ships sunk by the naval 
forces of Leovigild. After this preliminary struggle Leovigild attempted. 
to make an alliance with Guntram, but the ‘Frankish king rejected all 
his advances, and for the second time invaded Septimania. Recared was 
engaged in fighting against him when he received the news of his father’s 
last illness, which caused him to return to Spain. No sooner was 
Leovigild dead, than Recared was unanimously elected king. 

His reign was very unlike that of his predecessor. Leovigild had 
been essentially warlike, striving for the political unification of the 
Peninsula. Recared fought only in self-defence against the Franks and 
Vascons ; instead of continuing the conquest of Spain, he made peace 
with the Byzantines, acknowledged their occupation of certain territories 
and promised to respect it. Moreover, Leovigild desired uniformity of 
religion, but on the basis of Arianism, whilst Recared made it his main 
concern, but on the basis of Catholicism. It is probable that he 
abandoned the warlike policy of his father, because recent events had 
convinced him that the greatest danger for the Visigothic kingdom lay 
in the discord between the Visigothic and the Spanish-Roman elements. 
He probably realised that the main work before him was to unite these 
two elements, or at least, to induce them to lay aside their discontent 
and jealousy. More than one reason has been alleged for the change in 
the religious point of view. It has been supposed that Leovigild himself 
turned Catholic shortly before his death, and this view is supported by 
a passage in Gregory of Tours, but it scarcely suits the nature of the 
king, as illustrated by the earlier events of his life. There is another 
statement, connected with the above, which has less documentary evidence 
to support it. It occurs in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, and 
is to the effect that Leovigild charged Leander, bishop of Seville, to 
convert Recared. Lastly, the conjecture that Recared had secretly 
turned Catholic in his father’s lifetime, is not supported by any 
contemporary documents. We are, therefore, led to suppose that this 
change on the part of Recared was due to one of the following causes :— 
(1) Reflection, which had ripened in the knowledge of the real force 
which the Catholics represented in the Peninsula, superior as they were 
in number to the Visigoths, possessed of money and property in the land, 
and connected with the Byzantines. (2) A change of conviction on the 
part of Recared himself, after his accession to the throne, which was 
possibly brought about by the preaching of Leander, and also by the 
example of Hermenegild. (3) A possible combination of both causes. 

The facts are :—(1) The execution of Duke Sigisbert, which might 
have been either the outcome of Recared’s affection for his brother 
Hermenegild, or in punishment of Sigisbert’s transgression of his orders; 
but it is noteworthy that Recared accounted for it by stating that Sigisbert 

cH, VI. 

172 Conversion of the Visigoths [587-589 

was guilty of conspiracy. (2) The public and formal conversion to 
Catholicism of the king and his family, which, according to John of 
Biclar, took place in 587, ten months after Recared had ascended the 

The conversion was heralded, first, by a decree which put an end to 
the persecution of the Catholics, secondly, by the adoption of extra- 
ordinary measures with regard to the Gothic prelates and nobles in the 
provinces entrusted to the king’s agents (whom Gregory of Tours calls 
nuntios), and lastly by permission given to the bishops of both religions 
to hold a meeting, to the end that they might freely discuss their 
respective dogmas. At the conclusion of this discussion, Recared declared 
his preference for Catholicism and his conversion thereto, which he 
ratified with all due formality at the Council held in Toledo (the 
third of this name) in May 589. There were present at this Council 
62 bishops, five metropolitans, the king, his wife, and many nobles, all of 
whom signed the declaration of faith. Henceforth the Catholic religion 
became the religion of the Visigothic State. According to John of Biclar, 
the king exhorted all his subjects to be converted to it. 

But the faith of a people cannot be changed at the command of a 
king, nor could the interests which had grown up in the shadow of the 
ancient national religion allow themselves to be suddenly swept away. 
There ensued conspiracies and rebellions on the part of the Arian 
bishops, the nobles and the people, who adhered to their traditional 
faith. Goisvintha herself, the queen-mother, who lived for some time 
longer, Sunna, bishop of Mérida, Athelocus, bishop of Narbonne, 
Bishop Uldila, several counts, amongst others Segga and Witteric, 
Duke Argimund, and other persons of importance, made plots and 
conspired against the life of the king, took up arms, and sought the help 
of the Frankish king Guntram, who made two incursions into Septimania. 
On both occasions he was defeated and forced to withdraw. Moreover, 
Recared succeeded in suppressing all the rebellions of the Arians, 
punished the instigators, and caused many of the books dealing with that 
religion to be burnt. Nevertheless, although John of Biclar affirms the 
contrary, Arianism did not die out among the Visigothic people. It 
continued to exist until the fall of the Visigothic kingdom ; it was the 
cause of fresh insurrections, and, as we shall see, it was sufficiently strong 
to produce a temporary reaction. 

Recared had still to struggle with the Byzantines, who had renewed 
their quarrel with the Visigoths. But through the mediation of Pope 
Gregory I, he made with the Emperor Maurice the treaty to which we 
have already alluded, whereby it was agreed that each monarch should 
respect the territory possessed by the other. Lastly, Recared made war 
on the Vascons, whom Leovigild had driven back to the further side of 
the Pyrenees, and who were trying, though without success, to regain 
the land which they had formerly held. 

587-612 | Laws of Recared 173 

Recared’s internal policy of appeasing the Spanish-Roman element 
manifested itself in another direction. According to Isidore of Seville, 
Leovigild reformed the primitive legislation of the Visigoths, which 
dated from the time of Euric, by modifying a few laws, suppressing 
others which were unnecessary, and adding some which had been omitted 
from Euric’s compilation. Since the text of this reform has not come 
down to us, we know only that it actually existed?. 

From the tone of approval in which Isidore of Seville tells of the 
reforms accomplished by Leovigild, it has justly been inferred that they 
were a decided attempt at conciliation, and that it was intended to proceed 
with them until the differences between Visigoths and Spanish-Romans 
had been lessened or suppressed. There is more reason to suppose that 
Recared worked in this direction, but for this we have no such con- 
temporary evidence as that which refers to Leovigild. 

The three monarchs who successively occupied the Visigothic throne 
after Recared were of no great individual importance, but their history 
gives proof of the disturbed condition of the country. In fact, 
Recared’s son, Liuwa I, who was elected king on the death of his 
father and who continued his father’s Catholic policy, only reigned for 
two years. In 603 he was dethroned and slain in an insurrection 
headed by Count Witteric, who gained the support of the Arian party 
and attempted to restore the ancient religion of the Gothic people. In 
610, in consequence of a reaction on the part of the Catholics, Witteric 
forfeited his crown and his life. The crown was bestowed on Gundemar, 
a representative of the nobles. He only reigned for two years, during 
which time he waged two wars, one with the ever-restless Vascons, and 
the other with the Byzantines. Both these wars were continued by 
Sisebut, who succeeded him in 612. He, like Gundemar, was a Catholic 
and he pursued the militant policy of Leovigild. When he had sup- 
pressed the Vascon insurrection, Sisebut marched against the imperial 
forces, and, in a brief campaign, after defeating their general Asarius in 
two battles, took possession of all the eastern provinces of the Byzantines, 
that is to say, of the land between Gibraltar and the Sucro (Jucar). 
The Emperor Heraclius sued for peace, which Sisebut granted on 
condition of annexing that province to his kingdom, leaving to the 
Byzantines only the west, from the Straits to the Algarves. 

As concerns internal order, the most important event of Sisebut’s 
reign was the persecution of the Jews. They had lived in the Peninsula 
in great numbers since the time of the Empire under the protection 

1 Professor Gaudenzi alone is of opinion that the fragments of St Germain-des- 
Prés, of which I shall presently speak, form part of it. Professor Urefia maintains 
that the deges untiquae of the compilation made in the time of Receswinth, and the 
four fragments of Visigothic law found in Manuscript B 32 of the Biblioteca 
Vallicelliana in Rome are to be attributed to Leovigild. Other scholars believe 
that they are taken wholly or in part from the code of Euric. 

CH. VI. 

174 Visigothic Intolerance [612 

of the laws. The Lex Romana of Alaric II had only copied those of 
the Roman laws which were least favourable to the Jews. It therefore 
preserved the separation of races, counting marriages of Jews and 
Christians no better than adultery, and forbade the Jews to hold 
Christian slaves or to fill public offices. But it upheld their religious 
freedom, the jurisdiction of their judges and the use of Jewish law. 
But custom was more favourable to them than law, for mixed marriages 
took place in spite of the law, the Jews held public offices, and 
bought and circumcised Christian slaves. Recared put the laws in force, 
and further commanded to baptise the children of mixed marriages 
(Third Council of Toledo). Sisebut went further, and began the 
persecution of the Jews. He made two series of regulations on the 
subject. One of these, which appears in the Forum Judicum, restores 
and sharpens the laws of Recared; the other included an order to 
baptise all the Jews, under penalty of banishment and confiscation of 

What was the cause of this intolerance? It has been attributed 
to the influence of the clergy; but against this opinion we must set the 
disapproval of Isidore of Seville in his Historia, and of the Fourth 
Council of Toledo, over which the same prelate presided. Equally 
untrustworthy is the statement that these measures were forced upon 
Sisebut by the Emperor Heraclius, in the treaty made between them 
to which we have already alluded, for there is no text to bear out this 
statement, and moreover, the analogous case which Fredegar attributes 
to King Dagobert is equally unproved. All that we know for a fact is 
that Sisebut adopted the measure without consulting any Council, so 
that we must attribute the king’s resolution either to his own inclination 
(Sisebut’s piety led him to write Lives of the Saints, for instance, the 
well-known life of St Desiderius), or to the desire of obtaining possession 
of property by means of confiscation, or of gaining money from the sale 
of dispensations. Such were certainly his motives on other occasions. 
Moreover, he claimed religious authority for himself, for he considered 
that he was the ecclesiastical head of the bishops, and behaved as such. 
It is possible that he was also indirectly influenced by the fact that the 
Jews had assisted the Persians and Arabs in their wars against the 
Christians of the East. The immediate result of the law was that the 
greater part of the Jews received baptism, and that, according to the 
Chronicle of Paulus Emilius, only a few thousands (aliquot millia) sought 
refuge in Gaul. But this effect must have been short-lived, for we know 
that, nineteen years later, there were in Spain Jews who had not been 
baptised and others who had reverted to their former religion. 

* The existence of this law is proved by contemporary evidence, though it does 
not appear in the Forum Judicum. From a passage in Isidore of Seville we are led 
to suppose that this decree was made during the first year of Sisebut’s reign, that is 
to say, in 612, ; 

621-636 | Swinthila. Stsenand 175 

' Sisebut died in 621, and was succeeded by his son Recared II who 
reigned for a few months only. He was followed by Duke Swinthila, 
who had greatly distinguished himself as a general in the wars of 
Sisebut. He pursued and completed the military policy of the latter, 
conquering (629) the Algarves, the last province in the possession of the 
Byzantines. Thus, with the exception of a few unimportant districts in 
the north, which had no regular government, such as Vasconia, the 
Pyrenees of Aragon, and possibly some other places in mountainous 
parts, whose inhabitants remained independent, the Goths at last suc- 
ceeded in reducing the country to one united State. Swinthila also fought 
against the Vascons, and on one occasion defeated them. As a military 
base for his control over the district, he built the fortress of Oligitum, 
which some geographers take to be the same as the modern Olite, in the 
province of Navarre. 

If Swinthila had stopped short at this point, he would certainly 
have retained the good will of his contemporaries, and the epithet of 
“father of the poor” applied to him by Isidore of Seville; but it is 
probable that Swinthila was too sure of his power when he ventured to 
deal with the problems of internal policy, and that his failure affected 
the judgments passed on him. As a matter of fact, Swinthila did 
nothing more than what Liuwa and Leovigild had done before him, 
when he shared the government of the kingdom with members of his 
own family, namely :—his son Recimir, his wife Theodora, and his 
brother Geila. Why was Swinthila not permitted to do this, seeing that 
it had been tolerated in the former kings? Whether he set about it 
with less caution than his predecessors, or shewed more severity in 
suppressing the conspiracies, we do not know. The fact is that he not 
only lost the crown in 631, whilst struggling against the party of a 
noble called Sisenand, who, with an army of Franks, advanced as far as 
Saragossa, but that the chroniclers of the period call him a wicked and 
sensual tyrant. He did not die in battle—his defeat was mainly due to 
treachery—nor did he lose his freedom. In 633, to judge from a canon 
of the Fourth Council of ‘Toledo, he was still alive, but of his end we 
know nothing. ‘The political problem was still unsolved ; and we shall 
see that the kings did not abandon the intention of making the crown 

Of Sisenand, who reigned for six years, and died in 636, we know 
nothing more important than that he summoned the Council already 
referred to, which condemned Swinthila for his “evil deeds” and passed 
canons relating to the Jews. These canons indicate a change of policy 
in the clergy, which is all the more interesting, because, as we have said 
before, the Council had for its president Isidore of Seville. On the one 
hand, in agreement with the doctrine of this prelate, it censured the 
use of violent measures to enforce a change of religion (Canon Lvm) ; 
but, on the other hand, it accepted and sanctioned those conversions which 

CH, VI. 

176 Chintila. Chindaswinth [636-646 

had been brought about through fear in the time of Sisebut. It thus 
obliged those who had been baptised to continue in their new faith, 
instead of accepting, in accordance with the views of Isidore, the 
Constitution of Honorius and Theodosius (416), which permitted the 
Jews who had become Christians by force and not from religious motives, 
to revert to their former religion. With regard to the succession to the 
throne, the principle of free election by the assembly of nobles and 
bishops was established by Canon txxv. In accordance with this 
principle, Chintila was elected king in 636. Nothing of importance 
occurred during the four years of his reign except the summoning of 
the fifth and sixth Councils of Toledo. The canons of the first are 
chiefly concerned with the King, the respect due to his person, and some 
of his prerogatives, and furnish striking evidence of the uneasiness caused 
by the ambition of the nobility, who were endeavouring by violent means 
to wrest the crown from the elected king. The Sixth Council, held in 637, 
which laid stress on the same subjects, also issued a decree dealing with 
the Jews (Canon 111), which again enacted that all who had not been 
baptised should be driven out of the kingdom. In order to prevent 
relapses to their former religion, the king forced them to sign a document 
(placitum) on confession of faith, in which, on the pain of the most 
terrible curses, they bound themselves to live in accordance with the 
doctrine and practices of Christianity ; and to renounce Jewish customs. 
Moreover, to enforce this policy, the same canon obliges all future kings 
to swear that they will not permit the Jews to violate the Catholic Faith, 
nor countenance their misbelief in any way, nor “actuated by contempt 
or cupidity” open up the path of prevarication “to those who are 
hovering on the brink of unbelief.” 

In 640, despite Canon txxv of the Fourth Council of Toledo, 
Chintila was succeeded by his son Tulga, though the outward form 
of election was observed. This explains why his brief reign was disturbed 
by conspiracies and insurrections. We do not know for certain whether 
it was in consequence of his death or through the success of one of these 
insurrections that in May 642 the throne was occupied by one of the 
nobles—Chindaswinth, who boldly faced the political problem with 
energetic measures like those of Leovigild. Thus 700 persons, of whom 
the greater part were nobles, chosen from amongst those who had taken 
the most active part in conspiracies or shewn signs of political ambition, 
or proved themselves dangerous to the king, were slain, or reduced to 
slavery. Many others contrived to escape, and took refuge in Africa or 
in Frankish territory, and there they doubtless attempted to stir up 
fresh insurrections, to which reference is apparently made in one of the 
canons of the Seventh Council of Toledo, summoned by Chindaswinth 
in 646. This canon imposed heavy penalties, viz. excommunication 
for life and confiscation of property, on the rebels or emigrants including 
the clergy, who should try to obtain the support of foreign countries 

642-654 | Receswinth UG 

against their native land ; it also exhorted the monarchs of these countries 
not to allow the inhabitants of their dominions to conspire against the 
Visigoths. By this means Chindaswinth achieved his purpose, for, 
throughout his reign (642-653) there was not a single insurrection. 
On the other hand, supported by the Catholic clergy, who both from 
doctrinal and practical points of view had always favoured the principle 
of hereditary succession to the throne, he in 649 admitted to a share 
in the government his son Receswinth or Recceswinth, who from that 
time onwards was virtually king, and succeeded his father in 653, 
without going through the form of election. 

When Chindaswinth died, the rebellious nobles thought that the 
moment had come to take revenge, and, relying on the general discontent 
which was due to increased taxation and on the ever-restless Vascons, 
they rose in arms, and with a large force advanced as far as Saragossa, 
under the command of a grandee called Froja. Receswinth prepared 
for war, and ultimately succeeded in defeating them, taking Froja 
prisoner. But the country must have been profoundly agitated, and 
the throne threatened by very serious dangers, seeing that Receswinth, 
instead of taking advantage of his victory to inflict severe punishment 
on the rebels, and subdue them once for all, came to terms with them, 
granted an amnesty, promised to reduce the taxes, and yielded the 
question of election. Hence the significance of the Eighth Council of 
Toledo, held in 653, at which, after having caused himself to be released 
from the oath which he had taken to shew himself inexorable towards 
the rebels, he confirmed the above-mentioned Canon txxv of the Fourth 
Council. By this canon it was decreed that, on the death of the King, 
the assembly of prelates and nobles should elect as his successor a man 
of high rank, and that the person of their choice should bind himself 
to maintain the Catholic religion and to prosecute all Jews and heretics. 
This latter part of the Royal oath is a revival of the anti-Semitic policy. 
The speech or tomus regius read before the Council is very bitter, and 
proves that in spite of all the preceding measures there was still in 
Spain a great number of unconverted Jews, or that even those converted 
still observed the rites of their own religion. ‘The Council refused to 
take measures against the non-converted, but in 654, the king, on his 
own account, issued various laws which rendered more intolerable the 
legal position of the Hebrews of all classes. These laws obliged all Jews 
who had been baptised to sign a new placitum, similar to that of the 
time of Chintila, which imposed on apostates the penalty of being stoned 
and burnt alive. maid 

Whilst, in this way, the Visigothic kings were gradually widening 
the gulf between Jews and Christians, on the other hand they were 
lessening the differences between the Visigoths and the Spanish-Romans, 
and just as Recared had arrived at uniformity of religion, so did Chindas- 
winth and Receswinth aim at uniformity of law. The ground was well 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. VI. 12 

178 Laws of Chindaswinth [c. 654 

prepared, for, on the one hand, the principles of Roman jurisprudence 
had gradually crept into the Visigothic private law, and on the other, 
the Councils of Toledo had created a common system of legislation of 
the utmost importance. A proof of the agreement at which the two 
legal systems had arrived in some cases is furnished by the Visigothic 
formulae of the time of Sisebut, found in a manuscript at Oviedo. 
According to the prevalent opinion of legal historians, this unification 
was completed by Chindaswinth’s abolition of the Lex Romana or Bre- 
viarium of Alaric II, to which the Spanish and Gallo-Romans were 
subjected, and by the specific repeal of the law of Roman origin which 
forbade marriage between people of different races, though we know 
that such marriages did take place, like that of Theudis. The accepted 
theory has recently been modified by the revised opinion of the critics, 
which ascribes to Receswinth the abolition of the Lex Romana formerly 
ascribed to his father'. In any case, the reign of Chindaswinth was a 
period of great legislative activity so far as unification is concerned. 
This activity found expression in numerous amendments and modifica- 
tions of the older Visigothic Laws compiled by Recared and Leovigild 
and in the promulgation of other new ones. Ninety-eight or ninety- 
nine laws, clearly the work of Chindaswinth, are recorded in the texts 
which have come down to us, and all of them shew the predominating 
influence of the Roman system. Moreover, as his son Receswinth 
leads us to understand in one of his own laws, Chindaswinth began 
to make what was in fact a new code. Receswinth, therefore, did 
little more than conclude and perfect the work begun by his father, 
that is to say, he codified the laws which were in force in Spain, in their 
twofold application, Gothic and Roman. They formed a systematic 
compilation, which was divided into two books and bore the title of 
Liber Judiciorum, afterwards changed to that of Liber or Forum Judicum. 
The date of it is probably 654. Two copies of this Liber have been 
preserved ; in the modern amended editions it is known by the name of 
Lex Reccesvindiana (Zeumer). It is a collection of laws made expressly 
for use in the courts and therefore it omits several provisions referring 
to legal subjects or branches of the same—for instance a great part of 
the political law, for as a rule this does not affect the practice of the 
courts. But the fifteen chapters of Book 1, which refer to the law and 
the legislator, form an exception to this; they are the reflection, and 

' De remotis alienarum gentium legibus, 1. 1. This law, which occurs in several 
manuscripts and editions of the Visigothic codes, prohibits the use of the Roman 
legislation in Spain. Nevertheless, there are some historians (Helferich, Stobbe, 
Gaudenzi, Urefia) whom this revised opinion does not satisfy, and who consider that 
the amendment or repeal of the Lea Romana is earlier. They go so far as to assert 
that it was the work of Leovigild and that the law of Receswinth is nothing more 
than a ratification of the former decree. Nevertheless, the accepted opinion, of 

which Zeumer is at present the chief exponent, is still the best supported and the 
most popular. 

672-681 | Wamba 179 

in some cases the literal copy of the contemporary doctrinal texts of 
political philosophy—for instance, of Isidore of Seville. It is probable 
that Braulio, bishop of Saragossa, was one of the compilers of the new 
code, if not the chief. Receswinth subsequently made other legal 
provisions, both in the Councils and outside them. 

Receswinth died in 672, after reigning for 23 years. Wamba was 
elected as his successor. Almost the whole of his reign was spent in 
warfare. He fought first against the Vascons, who made a fresh 
rebellion, quickly suppressed; then against a general Paulus who, to- 
gether with Randsind, duke of Tarragona, Hilderic, count of Nimes, 
and Argebald, bishop of Narbonne, had incited all Septimania and part 
of Tarragona to rebellion; and lastly, against the Muslims. The 
rebellion of Paulus was promptly quelled and punished, and Wamba 
recovered possession of Barcelona, Gerona, Narbonne, Agde, Magdalona, 
Béziers and Nimes, which had constituted the chief centres of disaffection. 
The war against the Muslims, who had already obtained temporary 
possession of North Africa, originated in their invasion of the southern 
coast of Spain, and in particular of the city of Algeciras. The 
invaders were driven back, and their fleet was destroyed. The experience 
gained by Wamba, especially on the occasion of Paulus’ rebellion, must 
have shewn him how necessary it was to strengthen the military organisa- 
tion of the State, to inspire his people with a warlike spirit, and above 
all, to enforce compulsory service in the army, which appears to have 
been evaded by some of the nobles and clergy. This need was met by a 
law passed in 673, which together with three others bearing on civil and 
ecclesiastical matters, was added to the code of Receswinth. By this 
law, all who refused to serve in the army and all deserters were deprived 
of the power to bear witness. Despite all the prestige which Wamba’s 
victories had procured for him, and the mental energy shewn in all his 
actions, the fundamental weakness of the Visigothic State, namely, the 
want of agreement between its political elements, appeared once more, 
and in 680 Wamba was dethroned in consequence of a conspiracy headed 
by Erwig, one of the nobles, with the assistance of the metropolitan of 
Toledo. To preserve himself from a similar fate, Erwig adopted a mild 
and yielding policy, and sought the help of the clergy. In accordance 
with this policy, he revoked the severe penalties of Wamba’s military 
law, which had displeased the nobles, and restored its victims their 
ancient nobility. On the other hand, besides persecuting the partisans 
of Wamba, Erwig made new laws against the Jews, in order that the 
Judacorum pestis might be wholly exterminated, subjecting the converts 
to minute regulations that he might assure himself of their religious 
faith, and to the non-converted he granted the term of 12 months—from 
1 February 681—in which to receive baptism under penalty of banish- 
ment, scourging and the loss of all their hair. _ These laws, although 
very severe, were milder than those of Receswinth, seeing that they 

CH. VI. 12—2 

180 Erwg, Egica [ 680-687 

excluded the death-penalty. The Twelfth Council of Toledo accepted 
them in full. 

By the use of similar methods, Erwig induced this Council—summoned 
within three months of his consecration—not only to sanction his usurpa- 
tion and accept the false pretext that Wamba had become a monk of his 
own free will and had charged the metropolitan of Toledo to anoint 
him (Erwig) as his successor, but also to defame the memory of Wamba, 
to forbid his restoration, and to proclaim the person of Erwig and his 
family sacred and inviolable (Council XIII, Canon rv). Erwig was so 
desirous of ingratiating himself with the dangerous elements of the nation 
that he pardoned, not only those who had been punished in Wamba’s 
time for their share in the rebellion of Paulus, but also all those who had 
been branded as traitors during the reign of Chintila, restoring to them 
the property, titles, and civil rights which they had forfeited (Council 
XIII). The second canon of the same Council continued this policy ; it 
laid down rules for the protection of the nobles, officials of the palace 
and free-born men, in their suits, so as to prevent the arbitrary degrada- 
tion and confiscation of property which the kings were wont to order. 
But this was not the first time that the Visigothic legislation dealt with 
this point, and established guarantees of this nature. In 682, Erwig, 
by means of these laws and others, made a revised edition of the Liber 
Judiciorum or Judicum'. 

Before Erwig died in 687, he named as his successor Egica, a relation 
of Wamba and his own son-in-law; and in November of that year 
Egica was duly elected king. Notwithstanding the oath which he 
had taken in the presence of Erwig to protect the family of his pre- 
decessor, he at once divorced his wife Cixilona, degraded Erwig’s other 
relations, and punished the nobles who had taken the most prominent 
part in the conspiracy which deprived Wamba of the throne; on the 
other hand he favoured the partisans of Wamba, whom Erwig had perse- 
cuted. This behaviour naturally led to another rebellion of the unruly 
section of the Visigothic nobles. In the fifth year of Egica’s reign, 

1 If we are to judge by the issue of the pretentious edict, which is preserved in 
Law 1. Lib. 1. tit. 2 of the Forum Judicum, this revised edition was made in order to 
recast all earlier legislation, and the new laws in order to prevent ‘‘ the numerous 
lawsuits and varied interpretations, opposition to the enforcement of the law, and 
the want of decision and stability in the judgment of the court.” In place of all 
this it was intended to “‘ substitute clearness for uncertainty, utility for harmfulness 
mercy for the death-penalty, and to abolish the obscurities, and supply the deficiencies 
of the law.” But, in reality, very little of this was accomplished, for the essential 
part of the new edition of the Liber rests on that of Receswinth, with the exception 
of a few amendments of earlier laws, and the addition of some new ones, amonest 
others those referring to the Jews (tit. 3 of Lib. x1), and one bearing Bn militar 
service (9th, 2nd, Lib. Ix). Of the Code of Erwig, three copies have been RES: 
cae ae ie ninth and tenth centuries, the most important being that of 

693-694 | Persecution of the Jews 181 

a conspiracy was discovered of which Sisebert, metropolitan of Toledo, 
was the leader. The aim of this conspiracy was to slay the king, his 
sons, and five of the principal officials of the palace. ‘The metropolitan 
was deprived of his see, excommunicated and sentenced to exile for life, 
with the confiscation of all his property. 

‘Tt seems that, during the reign of Egica, there was another more 
serious conspiracy, directed, not against the king, but against the 
Visigothic nation. Egica himself denounced it in the royal tomus 
which he presented to the Seventeenth Council in 694, saying, with 
reference to the Jews, that, “by their own open confession, it was 
known, without any shadow of doubt, that the Hebrews in these parts 
had recently taken counsel with those who dwelt in lands beyond the 
sea (z.e. in Africa), that they might combine with them against the 
Christians”; and when accused, the same Jews confirmed before the 
Council the justice of the charge. What was the cause and what the 
aim of this conspiracy? ‘The cause may very well have been the 
legislation recently made by Egica with regard to the Jews, which, though 
very favourable to the converts who made sincere profession of the 
Christian Faith—seeing that it exempted them from the general taxes 
(munera) and from the special payments made by Jews, allowed them 
to possess Christian slaves and property, and to trade—was unfavourable 
to the non-baptised and to those who observed the rites of the Jewish 
Faith, they being burdened with all the taxes from which the first were 
exempted. We do not exactly know the aim of the conspiracy, although 
the understanding with the Africans and what happened later in the reign 
of Roderick give us reason to believe that it was intended to help 
the Muslims to make another invasion. The Council, regarding the 
crime as proved, decreed in the eighth canon! that all the Jews in the 
Peninsula should be reduced to slavery and their goods confiscated ; it 
authorised the Christian slave-owners to whom they were consigned to 
take possession of their sons at the age of seven, and educate them in 
the Christian Faith, and eventually marry them to Catholics. This law 
was not enforced in Visigothic Gaul. 

During the reign of Egica, the Visigothic code was revised for the 
last time (693-694)2, After the manner of his predecessors, Egica 

1 Afterwards converted into Law xvut. Lib. x1. tit. 2 of the Forum Judicum. 

2 To judge from the allusion to this revision in the royal tomus presented to the 
Sixteenth Council, it might be thought that it was an attempt at extensive reform, 
but it was not so. The revision consisted in a brief amendment of a few of Erwig’s 
laws, and the addition of the new ones made by Egica. The eighteen chapters 
extracted from nomo-canon, referring to points of public law (the election of 
sovereign, etc.), which appear as an introduction in manuscripts of later date than 
the seventh century, are attributed by some scholars to Egica, but this view is rejected 
by others who, like Zeumer, do not even believe that, during the reign of Egica, 
anything was added to the edition of Erwig but Erwig’s own laws. After the time 
of Egica, possibly after the fall of the Visigothic power, there appeared a new 

CH. VI. 

182 Policy of Witiza [701-709 

admitted hisson Witiza to a share of the government, entrusting to him 
the north-west, of which the capital was Tuy; he also stamped the 
effigy and name of Witiza, together with his own, on the money which 
was coined. Witiza was therefore allowed to succeed his father without 
opposition (701). The reigns of Witiza and the two following kings 
are very obscure. We have but scanty information, and that distorted 
with legends and partisan inventions. Thus, Witiza has been repre- 
sented as the wickedest of kings and as a man addicted to every vice. 
From the testimony of the anonymous chronicler of the eighth century 
and of the Arab historians from the ninth century onwards, it appears 
that he was the exact opposite. A critical examination of the sources 
shews that he was an energetic and benevolent king. 

Witiza began by proclaiming an amnesty, which included the nobles 
who had been condemned by Egica. ‘This produced an excellent effect, 
but did not suffice to prevent a fresh rebellion, when Witiza, following 
the example of his father, admitted his son Achila or Agila to a share in 
the government, entrusting to him the provinces of Narbonne and 
Tarragona under the charge of a noble, probably called Rechsind, who 
may have been a relative. We do not exactly know why this policy did 
not succeed. The chroniclers tell us little, till we come to Lucas of Tuy, 
who wrote in the thirteenth century, and is the first to allude to it. But 
we know that conspiracies were formed, that Witiza was obliged to dissolve 
some meeting or Council, whose attitude had given cause for uneasiness ; 
that, according to the evidence of the anonymous Latin chronicler, he 
quarrelled with Bishop Sindered, a man of exceptional piety, and lastly, 
that he punished some conspirators, amongst others Theodofred, duke 
of Cordova, whom he blinded, and Pelagius, another noble, whom he 
banished. This Pelagius, mentioned in the chronicle of Albelda—of 
the ninth century—is possibly the son of Fafila, or Fairla, duke of 
Cantabria—who had been banished from court during the reign of 
Kigica, and who was slain by Witiza himself when governor of the north- 
west provinces—and therefore most likely Pelagius of Covadonga, who 
would naturally be opposed to Witiza as the murderer of his father. 
Witiza managed to escape all these dangers and died a natural death in 
Toledo at the end of 708 or beginning of 709. Archbishop Roderick, 
a chronicler of the twelfth century, is the first to relate the legend that 
Witiza was deposed and blinded. Shortly before his death, the Muslims 
again invaded the Spanish coast, and were driven back by him. 
According to Isidore of Pax Julia, Witiza also defeated the Byzantines, 
who during the reign of Egica had attempted to reconquer some of the 
cities of southern Spain. Witiza was succeeded by Achila ; he, together 
with his two brothers, Olmund and Artavasdes, and his uncle, Bishop 
Oppas (the Don Oppas of the legend), were the males of the family of 

edition of the Vorwm Judicum, a work of private initiative, known by the copyists 
of the eighth and following centuries. It is now known as the Vuigata. 

710 | Roderick 183 

the late king. Immediately: a revolution broke out, for the nobles 
refused to acknowledge the new king. They produced a frightful state 
of confusion, but did not at first succeed in deposing him. Finally, the 
ringleaders met in council in the spring of 710, and elected Roderick 
(Ruderico), duke of Baetica. Soon afterwards, Roderick defeated the 
army of Achila, who, together with his uncle and brothers, fled to Africa, 
leaving the duke of Baetica in possession of the throne. 

The reign of Roderick—the title of Don assigned to him by the 
later chroniclers is a pure anachronism—is still more legendary than 
that of Witiza, and partly from the same cause—the false reports spread 
by political enemies, who were afterwards to be the victors, and partly 
the Moorish invasion and the fall of the Visigothic kingdom. The last 
king of the Visigoths is enveloped in legends from his first action as a 
king (the legend of the Tower of Hercules) until after his death (the 
legend of the Penance). The most important of all is that known as 
the legend of Florinda, or La Cava (the harlot), which thoroughly 
explains the invasion of the Muslims and the cause of their expedition 
to Spain, which resulted in the destruction of the Visigothic kingdom. 
We therefore have the story in two forms. 

1. The connivance of Julian—whoever he may have been—with 
the Muslims, in order to effect the conquest of Spain; Julian being 
actuated by purely political motives, and his daughter having no con- 
nexion with the matter. 

2. The explanation of Julian’s connivance with the Arabs by the 
insult which he had sustained at the hand of Roderick. 

The first Christian writer who mentions the count, and calls him 
Don Julian—the Don, as in the case of Roderick, is an anachronism—is 
the monk of Silos, who wrote at the beginning of the twelfth century. 
In our days it is generally admitted that this individual was called (not 
Julian but) Urban or Olban, and this opinion is supported by the 
reading of the most ancient text of the anonymous Latin chronicler, 
and by the Arab historians Tailhan and Codera. There 1s considerable 
difference of opinion as to who this Urban was. Some think that he 
was a Visigoth, others a Byzantine, but all are agreed that he was governor 
of Ceuta. Neither of these hypotheses can be maintained, because there 
is no certain evidence that Ceuta then belonged to the Byzantine 
Empire—still less to the Visigothic kings. Nor can the title rum 
given to Urban by the Arab chroniclers, which might mean a Gothic 
or Byzantine Christian, be taken in a definite sense. On the other hand, 
the anonymous Latin chronicler, as also Ibn Khaldin and Ahmed Anasiri 
Asalaui, state that Urban ‘belonged to the land of Africa,” to the 
Berber tribe of the Gomera, that he was a Christian and lord or petty 
king of Ceuta. Whoever he was, the monk of Silos is the first of the 
Spanish chroniclers to mention him, and to represent him as taking any 
part in the conquest of Spain ; according to the earlier chroniclers, the 

CH. VI, 

184 The Story of Count Julan ['708—711 

only people who helped, or rather were helped by, the Arabs, were the 
sons of Witiza, whom Roderick had deposed. Hence, the connexion 
between the person of Urban and the fall of the Visigothic State is 
now generally held by scholars to be a mere legend, perhaps derived 
from some Arab historian. 

The second element of the legend, viz. the violation of the count’s 
daughter, is even more doubtful. The offence committed by Roderick 
against the count is also, by some of the early chroniclers, attributed 
to Witiza, and the later chroniclers are not clear whether it was the 
daughter or the wife of Julian or Urban. Moreover, the monk of Silos 
is the first to relate this part of the legend; and the name of La Cava, 
by which the count’s daughter is now generally known, appears for the 
first time in the fifteenth century, in the untrustworthy history of Pedro 
del Corral. Nevertheless, the more cautious of the modern critics do 
not consider the question as definitely settled. 

A third explanation, intermediate between the two, has been set 
forth by Saavedra, the historian and Arabic scholar, and its main 
outlines are at present more or less generally accepted. He believes 
that, even granting that Roderick did commit this offence, it had no 
connexion with the help given by Julian to the Arabs. According to 
him, Julian was a Byzantine governor of Ceuta, and received assistance 
from Witiza in 708, when his city was attacked by the Muslims, and 
was therefore bound to the Visigothic king by ties of gratitude and 
possibly of self-interest. On the death of Witiza, when Julian was 
again attacked by the Arabs, he surrendered to them on condition that, 
during his lifetime, he might continue to hold the city of Ceuta under 
the supreme authority of the Caliph. When Achila was deposed by 
Roderick, he sought help from Julian, who helped him by making a 
preliminary expedition to Spain, which was not successful. Then the 
family of Witiza had recourse to the Muslim chiefs, who were more 
powerful than Julian, and after long negotiations, thanks to his inter- 
vention, they succeeded in obtaining the support of the Arab troops of 
Africa, and thus managed to defeat Roderick. This connexion between 
the Muslims and the sons of Witiza is confirmed by all the chroniclers, 
and forms a trustworthy starting-point for the history of the invasion. 
The final attack was preceded by two purely tentative expeditions, of 
which the first, that attributed to Julian, was made in 709, and the 
second, a year later, was controlled by an Arab chief called Tarif, who 
merely laid waste the country between Tarifa and Algeciras, and did 
not succeed in obtaining possession of any stronghold. 

In 711, a large force of Muslim troops, commanded by Tarik, the 
lieutenant of Misa, governor of Mauretania, who was accompanied by 
the count Julian or Urban of the legend, took the rock of Gibraltar, 
and the neighbouring cities of Carteya and Algeciras. When the enemy 
had thus secured places to which they could retreat, they advanced on 

711-712 | Battle of Lake Janda 185 

Cordova, but were detained on the way by a regiment of the Visigothic 
army under the command of Bencius, a cousin of Roderick. Although 
the Arabs defeated Bencius, his resistance enabled the king himself 
to arrive on the field. At that time Roderick happened to be fighting 
in the north of Spain against the Franks and the Vascons, whom the 
partisans of Achila had incited to make a fresh attack. When the 
Visigothic king saw this new danger, he assembled a powerful army and 
marched against the invaders, who, according to some historians, also 
increased their forces to the number of 25,000 men. On 19 July 711, the 
armies met on the shores of Lake Janda, which lies between the city of 
Medina Sidonia and the town of Vejer de la Frontera in the province of 
Cadiz. The river Barbate flows into this lake, and as its Arabic name 
of Guadibeca was misunderstood by some of the chroniclers, there arose 
the mistaken belief that the battle was fought on the banks of the river 
Guadalete. The victory was won by the Arabs, owing to the treachery 
of part of the Visigothic army, which was won over by the partisans of 
Achila. Among the traitors, the chroniclers make special mention of 
Bishop Oppas and Sisebert, referring to the latter as a relation of Witiza. 
So the king could not prevent Tarik from cutting off his retreat and 
dispersing his army. What became of King Roderick? The most 
common story in the chroniclers, both Arabic and Spanish, is merely 
that he disappeared, or that his end is unknown. Only a few state 
plainly that he perished in the battle of La Janda, and even these disagree 
as to the details of his death. Saavedra’ has thus reconstructed the 
history of Roderick after his defeat of La Janda. The Arabs advanced 
on Seville and, after another victory, they took Ecija, besieged Cordova, 
which held out for two months, and entered Toledo. King Roderick 
rallied his forces in Medina, and went to threaten the capital, which 
was occupied by Tarik. The Arab general asked Misa for reinforce- 
ments ; in 712 the latter came himself with a large army. After taking 
possession of Seville and other strongholds, he advanced on Mérida, the 
place which the Muslims had most reason to dread. He besieged this 
city, which held out for a year, and was finally taken by storm. 

At this point, we notice an important change in the accounts given 
by the chroniclers. Hitherto the invaders had met with but little 
resistance, and a certain amount of sympathy on the part of the towns- 
people, who, in some cases, had opened the gates of their cities to the 
foe. The Arabs had only left small garrisons in the towns which they 
had conquered, entrusting the protection and government of these towns 
to the Jews, who naturally welcomed the victorious Arabs. But, after 

H Relying on a text of Rasis in which the king is represented as being present at 
the battle of Sagiuyne or Segoyuela, and on another text of the chronicle of Albelda 
(of the ninth century), which states that Roderick reigned for three years, 710-713; 
also on the definite statement of the Arab historians, that the king took refuge in 
a place called Assanam or Assuagin. 

OH, VI. 

186 The Arab Conquest [711-713 

the taking of Mérida (June 713), a change appears to have set in. 
Possibly about that time Musa, who had seen for himself what the 
country was like, and what advantages he had gained, disclosed his 
intention of changing his tactics. The Muslim troops had hitherto 
acted as auxiliaries of Achila’s party, but at this point Musa began 
to regard the victorious Muslims as fighting on behalf of the Caliph. 
In any case about this time the Visigoths began to offer a general 
resistance, which first shewed itself in the revolt of Seville. Musa sent 
his son ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz to suppress it, and he himself advanced as far as the 
Sierra de Francia, not without giving orders to Tarik, who was at 
Toledo, to come and join him with an army in the wild mountainous 
country, which extends thence to the Estrella, passing through the 
Sierra de Gata and forming a means of communication with Portugal. 
Of one place, Egitania or Igaeditania (Idanha a Vella), we possess 
money coined by Roderick, possibly in 712. The king of the Visigoths 
had established himself there. Finally, the combined forces of the 
Muslims came up with him near the town of Segoyuela in the province 
of Salamanca. In the battle (September 713) Roderick was defeated, 
and probably slain. His corpse was perhaps borne by his followers to 
Vizeu, for if we believe the chronicle of Alfonso III, written in the ninth 
century by Sebastian of Salamanca, a tomb was there discovered with 
the inscription: ‘* Hic requiescit Rudericus, rex Gothorum.” 

Thus ended the rule of the Visigoths, for Misa, after the battle of 
Segoyuela, marched to 'Toledo, which had revolted on the departure of 
Tarik, and there proclaimed the Caliph as sovereign, dealing the death- 
blow to the hopes of Achila and his supporters. Achila was obliged to 
content himself with the recovery of his estates, which had been con- 
fiscated by Roderick, and with his residence at Toledo, where he lived in 
great pomp. His brother Artavasdes established himself at Cordova and 
assumed the title of count, which he transmitted to Abia Sa‘id, his 
descendant. Olmund remained in Seville, and Bishop Oppas held the 
metropolitan see of Toledo. As for Julian, he shortly afterwards 
followed Misa on his journey to Damascus, the capital of the Caliphate, 
and subsequently returned to Spain; according to Ibn ‘Iyad, the Arab 
historian, he then established himself in Cordova, where his son, 
Balacayas, became an apostate, and where his descendants continued 
to reside. This then is Saavedra’s theory. 

The end of the Visigothic kingdom of Spain was the natural result 
of the political divisions and the internal strife which had undermined 
the State. Since the time of Recared, and even more since that of 
Chindaswinth, there had been no insuperable difficulty in the amalgama- 
tion of the Visigothic and Spanish-Roman elements. In recent times their 
opposition has been exaggerated ; it has been supposed that the imperfect 
nature of the fusion effected by the kings betrayed itself in national 

Weakness of the Visigothic Kingdom 187 

weakness, that the two racial elements lacked cohesion, and therefore 
they could not make head against the foreign invaders. But our in- 
formation proves that they were much more closely united than has 
generally been supposed. Moreover, the most fruitful cause of antagonism 
between Visigoths and Romans—the distribution of lands, houses and 
slaves—was not as widely enforced in the Peninsula as in Gaul, where, 
nevertheless, it did not prevent the fusion of the two elements. Con- 
cerning the way in which this distribution was made in the territories 
ceded by Honorius to the Visigoths, by the application of the law of 
tenancy (de metatis), contained in the code of Theodosius, we now 
possess exact information shewing that the distribution did not apply to 
all the Gallo-Roman possessores. With regard to Spain, we know for a fact 
that the Sueves applied this law, and we have good reason to suppose 
that, touching the arable land and part of the forests, the Visigoths did 
the same, after the conquests of Euric, in the districts which they 
acquired. We have various data in support of this ; amongst others, the 
fact that the laws of consortes remained in force. It is also probable 
that they made distribution of the houses, the slaves engaged to cultivate 
the fields, and the agricultural implements ; but, in any case, the private 
property of the Spanish-Romans seems to have suffered less than that of 
their neighbours in Gaul. 

Moreover—notwithstanding the statement apparently contained in 
the military law of Wamba—the fact that, up to the time of Roderick, 
the Visigoths were constantly engaged in warfare, seems to confute the 
accusation of effeminacy and military decadence which has been brought 
against them. The Arabs before they came to Spain had been victorious 
in other countries where these conditions did not prevail. The fact that 
they were able to effect the conquest of the Peninsula in the comparatively 
short space of seven years is due—apart from the prowess of the Muslims 
—to the political disagreements of the Visigoths, to the indifference of 
the enslaved classes who found it profitable to submit to the victorious 
Arabs, to the support of the Jews—the only element really estranged 
from the bulk of the nation by persecution—and lastly, to the selfishness 
of some of the nobles—one more proof of the political unsoundness of 
the State—who preferred their personal advantage to concerted action 
on behalf of a monarch. The internal history, the history of the 
Visigothic kingdom, is one long struggle between the nobility and the 
monarchy. The kings were supported by the clergy in their efforts to 
consolidate the royal power and transmit it from father to son, while the 
nobles strove to keep it elective, and held themselves free to depose the 
elected king by violence. Nevertheless, the kings gained a certain 
strength, especially those endowed with great personal qualities, such as 
Leovigild, Chindaswinth, Receswinth and Wamba. T he Visigothic king 
was an absolute monarch, at times despotic, notwithstanding the principle 
of submission to the law which, from the contemporary works on 

CH. VI. 

188 The Councils of Toledo 

ecclesiastical politics, passed into, the legislation. The king was the 
chief of the army and the only legislative power. The last is clearly 
proved by the Councils of Toledo, concerning which there have been so 
many erroneous opinions. 

It is therefore necessary to discuss in some detail the organisation 
and authority of these Councils. The kings alone were empowered to 
summon them, they had also the right to appoint the bishops, and to 
deprive them of their sees, thus exercising in the Catholic Church the 
power which, in these matters, they had been wont to exercise in the 
Arian. Their power to summon the Councils is acknowledged in the 
decrees passed by each of these, with the possible exception of the 
seventh, which seems to leave the question undecided. On the other 
hand, the decree of the ninth Council clearly states that the bishops 
have not the power to assemble except by command of the king. ‘The 
latter did not issue his summons at regular intervals. The Council was 
formed of two elements, the clerical and the lay. The first consisted of 
the bishops, who in varying numbers were present at all the Councils ; 
the vicars, who appeared for the first time at the third Council; the 
abbots, who began to attend at the eighth; and the archpriest, 
archdeacon, and precentor of Toledo. ‘The lay element was composed 
of the officials or nobles of the palace (optimatibus et senioribus palatii, 
magnificentissimis ac nobilissimis viris, etc.), whose presence is attested 
by the signatures and prefaces to the decrees of all the Councils dealing 
with civil matters. From these we see that the lay element is absent from 
the Council held in 597 (which is not numbered), from that summoned 
by Gundemar, also known as “ Gundemar’s Ordinance,” from the fourteenth 
and from the seventh, which merely confirmed or re-enacted a law 
already approved by the lay element at the Royal Council. We are 
left in doubt as to the presence of the lay element at the following 
Councils :—the tenth, where the signatures are probably incomplete ; the 
eighteenth, of which there are no decrees in existence; and the third of 
Saragossa, from which the signatures are missing. As in the case of the 
ecclesiastics, the number of the nobles varied considerably. We see 
from the decrees of the twelfth and sixteenth Councils that they were 
chosen by the king, and we learn from those of the eighth Council that 
this was in accordance with an ancient custom. What part did the nobles 
take in the assemblies? Historians are by no means agreed ; some hold 
that they had a voice in the discussion of lay matters only, others that 
they were nothing more than passive witnesses, or that their presence 
was a pure formality ; again, others believe that they represented the 
king. Perez Pujol, the most recent historian of Visigothic Spain, has a 
convincing argument that, in matters wholly or partly lay, the nobles 
had the same rights to discuss and vote as the ecclesiastical members of 
the Council. This is the inference drawn from authentic texts of the 
eighth, tenth, twelfth, thirteenth, seventeenth Councils, and from the 

The Councils of Toledo 189 

sixth, which is conclusive with regard to the vote. The difference 
between the respective powers of the lay and clerical elements was limited 
to matters wholly religious, and the right of proposing laws to the king. 
With regard to lay matters, the functions of the Councils were of 
three kinds: (1) Deliberative, concerning the methods of government, 
adoption of new laws, modification or repeal of the old ones, and 
their codification or compilation. On these points the king consulted 
the Councils, both in the tomus regius which he handed to them at the 
opening of the Council, and in special communications, such as the one 
sent to the sixteenth Council (9 May 693). (2) The right to petition 
or to initiate legislation, that is to say, the right to present to the 
monarch, for approval, such proposals as were not included in these 
communications or in the tomus regius. But only the ecclesiastics were 
entitled to take this initiative. (3) Judicial, that is to say, the power to 
act as a kind of tribunal in the case of disputes connected with the 
administration ; this tribunal settled the complaints and charges brought 
by the citizens against the government officials, and possibly also against 
influential men. In this sense, the Council formed part of the system of 
the courts. It is not known whether these matters were laid directly 
before the Council, or whether they first passed through the hands of 
the king. The discussion concerning the tomus and the royal communi- 
cations was followed by voting, as a result of which the original 
proposal of the monarch was approved or modified. He frequently 
entrusted to the Council, not only the adoption of specially important laws, 
but also the general revision of all the existing laws—as we see from 
the tomus regius of the eighth, twelfth, and sixteenth Councils. This added 
to the freedom enjoyed by the clergy with regard to legislative initiative 
(as expressed in the canons of the sixteenth and seventeenth Councils) 
and furnishes grounds for the very general opinion that the Visigothic 
monarchy was dominated by the clergy, and was therefore mainly 
ecclesiastical in character. In the different Visigothic codes, and, conse- 
quently, in the most recent versions of the Liber or Forum Judicum, 
there is a large proportion of laws made by the Councils on ecclesiastical 
initiative: further, the political and theological doctrines of the time— 
of which Isidore of Seville is the chief representative—are reflected at 
every stage in the legislation, such as the duties of the monarch, the 
divine origin of power, the distinction drawn between the private means 
of the monarch and the patrimony of the Crown, etc., and the duty of the 
State to defend the Church and to punish crimes committed against 
religion. | a 
The Visigothic legislation was deeply imbued with the spirit of 
Catholicism. This was due, not only to the piety of the monarchs and 
upper classes, but also to the superior culture of the clergy, which gave 
them great authority over Spanish society, and enabled them to defend 
the principles of justice. Yet we have no right to suppose that, from 

CH. VI. 

190 Influence of the Goths on Spain 

the time of Recared, the clergy ruled the kings. We have seen that the 
kings controlled the bishops, that they appointed them, deprived them 
of their sees, and convoked them, so that they always had the means of 
checking any encroachment. We know that there were frequent disputes 
between the Crown and the prelates, that the latter often made con- 
spiracies, headed rebellions, and were in consequence punished by the 
kings ; we also know that for some time there was difference of opinion 
between the kings and the upper clergy on the subject of the Jews. 
Lastly, we must not forget that, in legislative matters, not only did the 
kings issue provisions motu proprio without consulting the Councils— 
there is no lack of examples—but also that, even with regard to the 
decisions and suggestions of the latter, they always reserved for them- 
selves the right of approval, as we may clearly see from the royal 
declarations at the eighth, thirteenth, and sixteenth Councils, apart 
from their general power of confirmation, without which the decrees were 
not valid. So far as we know, the kings always enforced the decisions 
of the Councils; and they could well afford to do so. It was a corrupt 
bargain. The Councils sanctioned the worst acts of hypocritical kings 
like Erwig, while the kings allowed their theological and _ political 
doctrines to creep into the legislation. This appears to be the truth of 
the matter. 

The fall of the Visigothic State did not put an end to Gothic 
influence in Spain. Like the Roman Empire, the Visigothic rule made 
a deep impression on the race and on the character of the Spanish 
people. Portions of Visigothic law were incorporated into their legal 
constitution: in the sphere of legislation, not only did their principles 
survive for several centuries, but some of them have come down to 
the present day, and are amongst those regarded as most essentially 
Spanish. The Forum Judicum remained in force in the Peninsula for 
centuries ; in the thirteenth, as it was still thought indispensable, it was 
translated into the vernacular—that is, Castilian—and, down to the 
nineteenth, its laws continued to be quoted in the courts. No sooner was 
the new monarchy established in Asturias, than it attempted to restore 
the Visigothic State, seeking for precedents in the latter and claiming 
to be its successor. ‘This influence is proved by various passages of the 
chronicles which treat of the Reconquest and by the texts of the laws 
of Alfonso II, Bermudo II, Alfonso V, and other kings. The word 
Goth survived to denote a Spanish Christian, and, in the sixteenth 
century, the victorious Spaniards introduced it into America. 

It was not only on legislation and politics that the Visigothic 
influence left its mark. It has now been proved that the Visigothic 
codes, even in their final and most complete form, by no means included 
all the legislation which existed in Spain. Apart from the law, and, in 
many cases, in direct opposition to it, there survived a considerable 
number of customs, almost all Gothic, which were firmly rooted in the 

Influence of Spain on the Goths 191 

people. These, after an existence which, to the modern observer, seems 
buried in obscurity—for they are not mentioned in any contemporary 
document—came to the surface in the legislation of the medieval F’ Ueros, 
which was founded on custom, as soon as the political unity of Visigothic 
Spain had been destroyed. It has been shewn by several modern scholars 
who have investigated the subject, such as Pidal, Munoz, Romero, 
Ficker, and Hinojosa, that many of these principles or Fueros faithfully 
reflect the ancient Gothic law. Here, then, is a new social factor of 
medieval Spain, which descends directly from the Visigoths. 

Conversely, in matters of social life and culture, the Visigoths were 
deeply affected by the Byzantine and by the Spanish-Roman element. 
The Roman spirit first affected them when they came in contact with 
the Eastern Empire in the third and fourth centuries. Afterwards in 
Gaul, and still more in Spain, a Western and properly Roman influence 
produced a much deeper effect, as is shewn by the advance in their 
legislation. Subsequently the Byzantine influence was revived by the 
Byzantine conquests in south and south-east Spain (554-629), and 
also by the constant communication between the Spanish clergy and 
Constantinople; indeed, we know that many of them visited this city. 
Some scholars have attempted to trace Byzantine influence in matters 
juridical, but it is not perceptible either in Visigothic legislation, or in 
the formulae of the sixth century, or in the legal works of Isidore of 
Seville. On the other hand, the influence of Byzantine art and litera- 
ture is manifest at every stage in the literary and artistic productions 
of the period. In the territory in subjection to the Empire, Greek was 
spoken in its vulgar form, and learned Greek was the language of all 
educated men. Moreover, Byzantine influence played a considerable 
part in commerce, which was chiefly carried on by the Carthagena route 
—this city being the capital of the imperial province—and by the 
Barcelona route, which followed the course of the Ebro to the coast of 

As might have been expected, the Roman-Latin influence was more 
powerful than the Byzantine. On the whole, the Visigoths conformed 
to the general system of social organisation which they had found 
established in Spain. According to this system, property was vested in 
the hands of a few, and there was great inequality between the classes. 
Personal and economic liberty was restricted by subjection to the curia 
and the collegia. The Visigoths improved the condition of the curvales, 
and lightened the burden of the compulsory guild, which pressed heavily 
on the workmen and artisans; but, on the other hand, they widened 
the gulf between the classes, by extending the grades of personal 
servitude and subjection on the lines followed by the Roman Empire in 
the fourth century; and these, owing to the weakness of the State, 
became daily more intolerable. With regard to the economic question 
of population, the Visigoths reversed the established Roman practice 

CH. VI. 

192 Literature of the Goths 

which was mainly municipal, and restored the rural system, which in 
their hands proved very efficient, as we see from the distribution of the 
local communities and from the system of local administration, although 
the Roman scheme of country-houses (v2lae) in some respects coincides 
with this; they also improved ‘the condition of agriculture. With 
regard to the family, the Visigoths were less susceptible to Latin 
influence, inasmuch as they retained the form of the patriarchal family 
and of the Stppe, which found its ultimate expression in solidarity of 
the clans in matters relating to the family, to property, and to punish- 
ment of crime, etc. Nevertheless, here too Roman influence did not fail 
to produce some effect; in the legislation, at least, it modified the 
Gothic law in an individualistic sense. 

Of the original language, script and literature of the Visigoths, 
nothing remained. The language left scarcely any trace on the Latin, 
by which it was almost immediately supplanted in common use. Modern 
philologists believe that most of the Gothic words—a bare hundred— 
contained in the Spanish language have not come from the Visigoths, 
but that they are of more ancient origin, and had crept into vulgar 
Latin towards the end of the Empire, as a result of the constant 
intercourse between the Roman soldiers and the Germanic tribes. The 
Gothic script fell rapidly into disuse in consequence of the spread of 
Catholicism, and the destruction of many of the Arian books in which 
it had been used. Although there is evidence that it survived down to 
the seventh century, there are but few examples of it; documents were 
generally written in Latin, in the script wrongly termed Gothic, which 
is known to Spanish palaeographers as that of Toledo. 

The literature which has come down to us is all in Latin, and the 
greater part of it deals with matters ecclesiastical. Although amongst 
the writers and cultured men of the time there were a few laymen, such 
as the kings Recared, Sisebut, Chindaswinth, and Receswinth, duke 
Claudius, the counts Bulgaranus and Laurentius, the majority of the 
historians, poets, theologians, moralists and priests were ecclesiastics ; 
such were Orosius, Dracontius, Idatius, Montanus, St Toribius of 
Astorga, St Martin of Braga, the Byzantines Licinianus and Severus, 
Donatus, Braulio, Masona, Julian, Tajon, John of Biclar, ete. The 
most important of all, the best and most representative exponent of 
contemporary culture, was Isidore of Seville, whose historical and legal 
works (Libri Sententiarum) and encyclopaedias (Origines sive Etymologiae) 
—the latter were written between 622 and 623—reproduce, in turn, 
Latin tradition and the doctrines of Christianity. The Etymologiae 
is not only exceedingly valuable from the historical point of view as a 
storehouse of Latin erudition, but it also exercised considerable influence 
over Spain and the other Western nations. In Spain, France, and other 
European countries, there was scarcely a single library belonging to a 
chapter-house or an abbey, whose catalogue could not boast of a copy of 

Gothic Art 193 

Isidore’s work. Alcuin and Theodulf took their inspiration from it, and 
for Jurists it was long one of the principal sources of information con- 
cerning the Roman Law before the time of Justinian. 

Of the artistic productions which the Visigoths left behind in 
Spain, there is not much to be said. In addition to the undoubted 
Byzantine influence, which, however, did not exactly reveal itself 
through the medium of Visigothic art, since it had its own province 
like that of other Western countries, it is possible that the work of the 
Visigoths shewed other traces of Eastern art. We have much informa- 
tion concerning public buildings—palaces, churches, monasteries and 
fortifications—built during the Visigothic period, and more especially 
during the reigns of Leovigild, Recared, Receswinth, etc. But none of 
these buildings have come down to us in a state of sufficient preservation 
to enable us to state precisely the characteristic features of the period. 
The following buildings, or at least some part of them, have been 
assigned to this period: the churches of San Roman de la Hornija, and 
San Juan de Banos at Palencia; the church of San Miguel de Tarrasa, 
and possibly the lower part of Cristo de la Luz at Toledo; the cathedral 
of San Miguel de Escalada at Leon ; Burguillos and San Pedro de Nave, 
and a few other fragments. It is also thought that there are traces of 
Visigothic influence in the church of St Germain-des-Pres at Paris, 
which was built in 806 by Theodulf, bishop of Orleans, a native of 
Spain. But the capitals found at Toledo, Mérida and Cordova, and, 
above all, the beautiful jewels, votive crowns, crosses and necklaces of 
gold and precious stones discovered at Guarrazar, Elche, and Antequera, 
must assuredly be attributed to the Visigoths. We possess numerous 
Visigothic gold coins, or rather medals struck in commemoration of 
victories and proclamations, modelled on the Latin and Byzantine types 
and roughly engraved. They furnish information concerning several kings 
whose names do not occur in any known document, and who must 
probably be regarded as usurpers, rebels, or unsuccessful candidates for 
the throne, such as Tutila or Tudila of Iliberis and Mérida, and Tajita 
of Acci, who are supposed to belong to the period between Recared I 
and Sisenand, and Suniefred or Cuniefred, who possibly belongs to the 
time of Receswinth or Wamba. 

©. MED. H. VOL. II. CH. VI. 13 



Tur Lombards are mentioned first at the time of Augustus and 
Tiberius by Velleius Paterculus and Strabo, and a hundred years later 
by Tacitus. Their first residence was the Bardengau on the left bank 
of the lower Elbe, and here they were conquered by Tiberius at the 
time before the battle in the Teutoburgian forest, when the Romans 
still intended to subdue the whole of Germany. After the deliverance 
of the inner part of Germany by Arminius, the Lombards were ruled by 
Marbod, who went over to Arminius and later on brought back to his 
compatriots Italicus, the son of Arminius, whom the Cherusci had fetched 
from Rome and then driven away again. They are generally described as 
a small tribe, the fiercest of all German tribes, and only their bravery 
enabled them to hold their position between their stronger neighbours. 
On the whole their habits seem to have been the same as those of all 
other Germans at the time of Tacitus; some of their laws of a later 
period shew a certain resemblance to those of their former neighbours by 
the North Sea. As with all Germans, their kingdom is no original insti- 
tution, and whatever tradition tells about it is only fabulous. It is the 
smallness of their tribe which accounts for their principal quality—the 
tendency to assimilate the allied or subdued individuals and_ tribes. 
Roman influence seems to have touched them only in the slightest 
degree during the first five centuries of our era. At the time of their 
wanderings they began to shew differences from their neighbours. 

We know nothing about the way the Lombard wanderings took, 
though tradition says a good deal about them. The extensive farming 
they practised, consisting more in cattle-breeding than agriculture, and 
the loose organisation of the tribe made it easy for them to leave their 
dwelling-places. Perhaps here, as is so often the case, the first motive 
was need of land, a natural result of the increase of population, while 
at the same time so small a tribe had no possibility of enlarging its 
boundaries. A division of Lombards invaded Pannonia with the 
Marcomanni about the year 165, but were repulsed by the Romans and 
obliged to return. They did not again reach the old Roman frontier, 
the Danube, till 300 years later, under a certain king Godeoch, 

487-568 | The Lombards 195 

who occupied the desolated Rugiland after the destruction of their 
empire by Odovacar in the year 487. Meanwhile during the 
troubles of their wanderings and continual wars the institution of a 
constant commander-in-chief in form of kingship seems to have taken 
the place of the Tacitean duke who was invested for every single war 
From Rugiland they wandered into the land which was called “Feld” 
(in Hungary) but were subdued by the Heruli and forced to pay 
tribute. At that time they were probably landlords, leaving the land 
to subjected half-freemen (aldiones) for culture; we may suppose that 
they were at that time strongly influenced by their neighbours, the 
Bavarians, and it was then that they adopted Christianity in its Arian 
form. But not very long afterwards, during the Franco-Ostrogothic 
war in Gaul, the Lombards, under the reign of their king Tato of 
the family of Leth, shook off the yoke of the Heruli, who were 
allied with Theodoric, succeeded in beating them completely in a battle 
somewhere in the Hungarian plain, and entirely destroyed their realm. 
The Lombards now had the Gepidae on the south and the Danube on 
the west. Tato’s nephew and successor, King Vacho, who had married 
one daughter to a Frankish king and another to Garibald, duke of 
Bavaria, considered himself friend and ally of the Roman Emperor. 
When after the death of the last ‘“‘ Lethingian” king his guardian 
Audoin had mounted the throne, the Lombards crossed the Danube 
and, while the Ostrogothic land was in great confusion, occupied the 
south-west of Hungary, and also Noricum, the south of Styria, both 
belonging in name to the Roman Empire, but left to them for settlement 
by Justinian. In this way they were loosely federated with the Empire, 
which paid them subsidies, but was nevertheless troubled by their raids. 
They assisted Narses in his decisive expedition to Italy, bringing him 
2500 warriors with 3000 armed followers, but the Byzantine soon sent 
them back after the deciding battle, seeing how dangerous they were to 
friend and foe through their fierceness and want of discipline. Meanwhile 
the Lombards and Gepidae, stirred up by the Roman Emperor, were en- 
gaged in constant battles and struggles. After Audoin’s death his son and 
successor Alboin, well known to fable, concluded a league with the Avars, | 
engaging himself to pay the tenth part of all cattle for their help in war 
and, in case of victory, to give up the land of the Gepidae to the Avars. 
The latter made their invasion from the north-east, the Lombards 
from the north-west. In the decisive battle Kunimund, king of the 
Gepidae, was slain by Alboin’s hand, the king’s daughter taken prisoner 
and made queen by Alboin. Part of the Gepidae took flight, another 
part surrendered to the Lombards; their realm existed no more, their 
land and the few who stayed behind fell under the government of the 
Avars, who were now the Lombards’ most dangerous neighbours. But 
the Lombards renewed their confederacy with them, and left to 
them the land they had themselves occupied till then, intending to 

CH. VII. 13—2Z 

196 Alboin's Invasion [568-572 
I ee iM 
conquer for themselves a better and richer land in Italy, which many 
of them already knew. At the command of Alboin they assembled on 
1 April 568, with family, goods and chattels, with a mixed multitude 
of all the subjugated races already assimilated by their people. With 
a great number of allies—20,000 Saxons among others—and grouped in 
tribes (fara) they crossed the Alps under the guidance of Alboin. 
About the same time Narses was recalled by Justinian’s successor: hence 
arose a rumour, reporting that the commander had committed treason, 
by calling the Lombards; and this became the saga of Narses. 

In spite of the well-organised defensive system which Narses had 
established, the Romans seem to have been surprised and made no 
attempt at defence. The Lombards threw down the Friulian limes 
with its castles and, marching into the Venetian plain, took Cividale 
(Forum Julii), the first important place that fell into their hands, and 
afterwards the residence of the ducal dynasty of the Gisulfings ; they 
also destroyed the town of Aquileia, whose patriarch fled to Grado, 
the later New-Aquileia, with his treasure, part of the population and 
of the soldiers. But the imperialists succeeded in holding out in 
Padua, Monselice and Mantua, thereby defending the line of the 
Po, while Vicenza and Verona fell into Alboin’s hands, so that the 
important dimes of 'Tridentum, which bordered on Bavaria in the north, 
was separated from the bulk of the imperial army. On 4 September 
569, Alboin entered Milan; the archbishop Honoratus fled to Genoa, 
which for two generations remained the asylum of the bishops of Milan. 
Ticinum (Pavia) alone offered resistance for a time and could only be 
taken after a long siege, during which and afterwards other Lombard 
troops scoured the country up to the Alps and took possession of the 
land except a few fortifications. Undoubtedly the Lombard bands had 
as little idea of systematic attack as the imperialists of systematic 
defence: and it seems the latter judged the Lombard invasions to be 
like other barbarian invasions, which soon passed away. Alboin himself 
seems to have dated his reign in Italy from the time of his occupation 
of Milan. 

Alboin did not long enjoy his fame. Revolted by her husband’s 
insolence, who forced her to drink from a cup made of her father 
Kunimund’s skull, Rosamund conspired with Alboin’s foster-brother 
Helmechis and a powerful man called Peredeo; the barbarian hero- 
king was murdered in his bed (in spring 572). But as Rosamund 
could not realise her plan of taking possession of the throne with 
Helmechis, against the Lombards’ opposition, the two fled to Ravenna, 
taking the royal treasure with them. Here the queen wanted to 
get rid of her accomplice and marry Longinus, praefect of Italy ; 
but Helmechis forced her to finish the poison she had given him. So 
the praefect could only deliver Alboin’s daughter and the treasure to 
Constantinople. This is what the saga related, and we can neither 

574 | Setilement of the Lombards 197 

confirm nor contradict its details. The duke Cleph of the family of Beleos 
was now made king by the Lombards at Pavia, but was murdered after 
one and a half years’ reign (574). Lombard bands spread further in 
middle and southern Italy, but so small was the need of a single leader 
that they chose no more kings, but every one of the dukes, 35 in number, 
reigned independently in his own district. 

These dukes, called duces by our authorities, but whose Lombard 
titles we do not know, are not to be confounded with the duces in the 
Tacitean sense. We must picture them as leaders of a military division 
chosen by the king from among the nobles. Their position changed 
naturally, when the Lombard people was no longer on march, but the 
same clans were garrisoned permanently in the same town, as the saga of 
Gisulf’s appointment in Friuli exemplifies, and occupied permanently the 
same district, living on its produce. These districts generally coincided 
with the Roman division in civitates, and a walled town formed the 
centre. Probably these towns were at first used as victualling stations, 
managed in a more or less regular manner, sometimes perhaps by 
imposing payment of a third on the peasants of the district. But this 
could only be considered a transition state, preparing the way for 
definite settlement. The fierce Lombards had not come as federates or 
friends like the Goths, but as enemies, and treated the Romans jure 

The Roman freeman—the curialis who owned a moderate property 
in the town or the great landowner in the country—had fled, or had 
been killed or enslaved, and only the great mass of working people, the 
colont and the agricultural slaves, had been left on the soil, though 
many had perished during the terrors of war. When the Lombards 
began to settle, they divided the land, with all its bondmen, as far 
as it had not been entirely devastated, between the free Lombards, 
who thereby took the place of the Roman landlords. 'The coloni were 
considered as aldiones, as half-freemen, and paid tribute and did socage 
service for the Lombards as they had done for the Romans before. Of 
course the possessions of the Catholic Church, which was the Church of 
the Roman State, fell under the same lot of division. The dukes claimed 
for themselves all the public land with its traditional duties as well, but 
every free Lombard warrior was entitled to part of the booty, and there- 
fore became also a landowner. In this way the local division in all those 
parts which had not been totally devastated, and which were ploughed 
again after a time, suffered no change. The culture was much the same, 
with the one difference that the Lombards, having brought great herds 
of cattle, especially swine, from Pannonia, attached more importance 
within the manor to stock-management and cattle-breeding than the 
Romans had done. The towns and municipal settlements were likewise 
unchanged, because the Lombards, who had known stone buildings only 
upon Roman soil, accommodated themselves to the conditions of a 


198 Spoleto and Benevento [574-579 

higher culture. It is certain that regard was paid to the connexion 
between the fara (clan) in every settlement, but on the other hand it 
was just the manorial and municipal settlement which entirely destroyed 
the connexion within the fara, so that the rest of the original clan- 
organisation soon disappeared. Two of the duchies were somewhat 
different in origin and organisation from those of the north of Italy, the 
“great duchies” of Spoleto and Benevento. They did not go back to 
the time of conquest in common, but were founded by independent 
enterprises of Lombard bands, who had severed from the great mass 
under command of their chiefs and invaded the land on their own 
account. They were much larger in extent than one civitas, so that here 
the ctvitas forms a subdivision of the duchy. 

In the year 575 or 576 the patrician Baduarius, son-in-law to the 
Emperor Justin, and his army were entirely beaten by the Lombards. 
They approached Ravenna, the duke Faroald even occupied for a time 
Classis, its port, destroyed the Petra Pertusa, which defended the Via 
Flaminia, and thereby forced the passage of the Apennines. Faroald 
occupied Nursia, Spoleto and other towns and installed an Arian bishop in 
Spoleto, which was now the centre of his duchy. Another duke, Zotto, 
who with his partly heathen bands inundated the province of Samnium 
and spread terror all around, settled down in Benevento. 'The connexion 
between Ravenna and Rome was interrupted at times; even Rome was 
besieged in the year 579, but the Lombards were obliged to give up the 
siege as well as that of Naples two years later, because Roman walls, kept 
in good condition and provided with a sufficient number of defenders, 
were impregnable to them. During the next years the two dukedoms 
took a still wider range, limited only by Rome with its surroundings 
and by Byzantine seaport-towns, which could not be taken from the 
land side. During the kingless time Benevento and Spoleto grew so 
strong that they were able to keep up their independence. 

In the north of Italy too the incoherent government of the dukes 
did not permit any uniform action. Even in Alboin’s time various 
troops had detached themselves and pillaged in Gaul, but upon the whole 
these adventurers had no success against Mummolus, commander-in-chief 
of the Burgundian king Guntram. The Saxons, who did not want to 
assimilate with the Lombards and intended to make their way home 
through the land of the Franks, were likewise beaten in the following 

But these bands had shewn the way into the neighbouring kingdom 
to the dukes of North Italy. Some of these marched into the upper 
valley of the Rhone and were beaten by the Burgundians near Bex (574) 
and no better did they fare next year, as they were repulsed by — 
Mummolus, after having laid waste the land between the Rhone, the Isére 
and the Alps. At this time Susa and Aosta, the most important passage 
over the West Alps, seem to have fallen into the hands of the Franks, 

584 | A uthari 199 

and on the other side, a Frankish duke, Chramnichis, advanced from 
Austrasia into the dukedom of Trent, but was, after a short success, totally 
defeated with his troops by the duke Evin near Salurn. These conflicts 
took a dangerous aspect when the Emperor Maurice sent subsidies 
(50,000 soldi) to the young king Childebert of Austrasia in order to drive 
out the Lombards. 

In 584 King Childebert conducted an army against Italy, and so weak 
had the want of monarchical leading rendered the Lombard dukes that 
they dared not offer resistance, and sent presents in token of submission. 
Besides this their force of resistance had been weakened by the treason 
of some of their fellow-countrymen who were not ashamed of joining 
the imperialists against their own people. The imperial policy was to 
combat barbarians with barbarians, and to spend abundant means for 
this purpose. In this manner they had won over the duke Drocton 
of Brexillum, a Lombard duke of Suevic family, who succeeded in 
expelling Faroald from Classis, and other deserters were found as well. 
Standing in danger of losing all their booty by dispersing their forces, 
the dukes of West Italy at last resolved to unite again under a king’s 

They elected Authari the son of Cleph (584), and conceded to him 
(as we hear), in order to give material foundation to the new kingdom, 
half of their own lands, which were later administered by royal gastaldi. 
The dukedom had, in consequence of the settlements during the last 
ten years, become quite a different thing from what it had been at the 
time of Alboin, and also the new kingdom was obliged to represent 
not only the leading power of the army as before but also territorial 

The king’s attempt to strengthen the new central power against the 
forces of disunion, grown strong during the last period, now formed the 
most important part of the Lombard State’s politics, as it was the king’s 
task to form a really united State. He was no longer satisfied with the 
dignity of a barbarian chieftain, but aspired to reign lawfully within 
the territory of the Roman Empire. We see this from the fact that 
Authari first took up the name Flavius, which all his successors kept, 
though he was not acknowledged by the Empire, as for instance Theodoric 
had been. 

The Lombards wanted this territory to comprise all Italy, and a 
legend illustrating the fact tells us that Authari rode into the sea at the 
south point of Italy, and touched a solitary column, projecting out of 
the waves, with his spear and called out: “This is to be the boundary 
of the Lombard realm”; but in reality Authari’s task was of a more 
modest character and limited to the north of Italy. A new attack of 
the Austrasians failed in consequence of the leaders’ disagreements, and as 
the Exarch Smaragdus felt too weak to offer resistance to the Lombards 
without their help, Authari managed to conclude an armistice for three 

cH. VII. 

200 Theodelinda [ 588-590 

years, the first that was concluded between the Lombards and the 
Empire. Authari seems to have availed himself of this opportunity 
partly to restore order in North Italy and partly to ensure his boundary 
in the north, and above all to destroy the Franco-Byzantine league, 
which threatened the existence of his realm. He therefore betrothed 
himself to Childebert’s sister, but the engagement was soon broken by 
the Franks when the Frankish imperial and catholic party of Brunhild 
got the ascendant. Authari however married Theodelinda (588 ?), the 
Catholic daughter of the Bavarian duke Garibal, who, by her mother, 
belonged to the old Lombard royal family of the Lethings. ‘The other 
daughter was married to the mighty duke Evin of Tridentum, and her 
brother Gundoald was made duke of Asti by Authari. When the 
Franks, by this time, repeated their invasion of Italy under the leading 
of a few dukes, they were entirely beaten after a hot battle. Childebert’s 
revenge was prevented by Authari’s negotiations with him (589) and by 
his offer to become even a dependent confederate and pay tribute. 
Meanwhile, after the armistice had ended, Authari had succeeded in 
removing the last remnants of imperial power on the northern boundaries 
of Italy, and had probably also obtained his acknowledgment by the 
duke of Friuli. Nevertheless his position was much impaired when a 
new exarch, Romanus, appeared in Ravenna with reinforcements, 
regained Altinum, Modena and Mantua, and induced the Lombard 
dukes of the Emilia, as well as the duke of Friuli, to join the imperialists. 
The negotiations were broken off, and imperialists and Franks planned 
to destroy the Lombard power by a systematic and simultaneous attack 
from north and south, and had even agreed already on the distribution of 
the booty. Twenty Frankish dukes broke forth from the Alps in two 
divisions, one marching against Milan, the other under the duke Chedinus 
against Verona, after having broken through the fortification of the 
frontier and devastated the land all around (summer 590); but no 
important conflicts took place, because the Lombards retired into their 
fortifications, fearing the enemy’s overwhelming numbers. The exarch 
came to meet the Franks at Mantua, and intended to march in a line 
parallel to them against Pavia, to which Authari had drawn back ; but 
this plan was not put into practice, it is said, in consequence of misunder- 

The Frankish dukes tried to secure their moveable booty, and Duke 
Chedinus is said to have concluded an armistice for ten months; but 
epidemics and famine caused great losses on their way back. After 
these efforts, which had brought no real success to them, the Franks 
ceased to invade Italy for more than a century and a half. Authari 
lived to manage the negotiations for peace which led to a lasting 
friendship between the Franks and Lombards later on, though only on 
condition of paying tribute to the Franks—a burden which was, as it 
seems, not for a long time thrown off by the Lombards. The northern 

590-605 | A gilulf 201 

boundary, at all events, was secured, and the Lombards were only 
threatened from one side, by the imperials. But Authari did not live 
to see the definite treaty of peace; he is said to have been poisoned 
and died (5 Sept. 590). The result of his active life was the establish- 
ment of a kingdom and the Lombard State, though many difficulties 
still awaited the Lombards from within and without. 

Two months after Authari’s death, Agilulf, duke of Turin, obtained 
the crown and married his predecessor’s widow, Theodelinda. In May 
591 an assembly of Lombards at Milan acknowledged him solemnly, but 
a number of North Italian dukes had then to be subdued in repeated 
battles; also Piacenza and Parma were again subjected, and in the 
latter town the king’s son-in-law was established as duke, as the king 
generally claimed the right to nominate the dukes himself. He ensured 
the northern boundary by an agreement with the Avars which became 
a defensive and offensive alliance later on. The time had now come 
for a systematic attack on the imperialists. The newly-nominated 
duke of Benevento, Arichis, who had consolidated his duchy by gaining 
nearly all the territories in South Italy with the exception of a few 
towns on the coast, had the especial task of marching against Naples and 
threatening Rome from the south, while Ariulf of Spoleto had already 
destroyed the land communication between Rome and Ravenna in 
April 592, and even appeared before Rome in the summer, afterwards 
turning to the north and taking the castles on the upper Tiber. To 
be sure, the exarch succeeded in regaining them during the time he 
was free of Agilulf; but in 593 the king himself advanced southward, 
occupied Perusia and appeared before Rome. ‘The siege ended in a 
treaty with Pope Gregory who only wished for peace, but it was 
not acknowledged by the exarch after the king had marched off; 
the war did not cease, and the Lombards made constant progress. 
It was only after the Exarch Romanus’ death (596) that, by the pope’s 
urging, the transactions were renewed seriously ; it is true that the new 
exarch, Callinicus, carried on the war in North Italy, but he concluded an 
armistice of a year in autumn 598 on the basis of the status quo and 
engaged himself to pay 500 pounds in gold to the Lombard king. The 
armistice was renewed for the time from spring 600-601 but, when the 
war was taken up again, the exarch succeeded in making prisoners of 
the duke of Parma and his wife, Agilulf’s daughter; but the Lombard 
king took Padua, devastated Istria with Slav and Avar troops, con- 
quered the fortified town of Monselice, enforced peace on the rebellious 
dukes of Friuli and Tridentum and occupied in 603 Cremona and 
Mantua. The central position of the imperialists at Ravenna appeared to 
be endangered after the subjugation of all the north of Italy, and the 
Exarch Smaragdus, who was again sent to Italy after the fall of the 
Emperor Maurice, hastily concluded a new armistice till 605, and 
surrendered the king’s daughter. Then Agilulf crossed the Apennines 


202 Theodelinda and Adaloald [ 605-628 

once more, occupied Balneum Regis and Orvieto, but in November 605 
the imperialists obtained a new armistice at the price of paying a tribute 
of 12,000 solidi. From that time till Agilulf’s death and even afterwards, 
this armistice was continually prolonged. It is true that a definite state 
of peace, which would have naturally led to a legal partition of the 
Italian soil, was not effected, though Agilulf’s ambassador Stablicianus 
seems to have entered into negotiations on this subject in Constantinople. 
Agilulf died in 616 after 25 years of a warlike reign, in which he had 
expanded and strengthened his empire and obliged the Romans to pay 

To Agilulf his son Adaloald (a minor) followed in name, but 
Theodelinda exercised the ruling influence on government in his place. 
While Authari had never allowed Lombard children Catholic baptism, 
a Catholic chapel had been conceded to Theodelinda at Monza and 
Adaloald himself was already baptised as a Catholic, though by a 
schismatic, and Theodelinda, who exchanged occasional letters with 
Pope Gregory, was schismatic in relation to the Three Chapters. In this 
way Agilulf had not tolerated the organisation of the Roman Church 
within the reach of his power, but the schismatic bishop of Aquileia and 
his schismatic suffragans had taken refuge with the Lombards. Agilulf 
had also given deserted land in the Apennines at the confluence of the 
torrent Bobbio and the Trebbia to the Irish monk Columba (Columbanus) 
who had fled from Gaul, and differed dogmatically from Rome. He also 
gave permission to lay the foundations of a monastery at Bobbio, but the 
monks soon turned to orthodoxy after Columbanus’ death, and even got 
a privilege in 628, by which they were exempted from the power of the 
neighbouring bishop of Tortona. In contrast to the national chiefs, who 
were still Arian, the government favoured the Catholics or at least the 
schismatics, and in consequence Roman influence made rapid progress 
in the Lombard kingdom, favoured partly by the social influence 
of the Roman subjects, partly by the intercourse with the Roman 
neighbours, which the long armistices had so well prepared. Neverthe- 
less the peace was once more broken at the beginning of Adaloald’s 
reign between the Exarch Eleutherius and the Lombards under the 
commander Sundrarius, who owed his training to Agilulf, but this 
war was ended by another armistice, the exarch consenting to pay 
a tribute of 500 pounds in gold. In the following years the Roman 
influence on the king was so great that he was generally said to be 
either mad or bewitched. Perhaps it was the national party among the 
Lombards which raised upon the buckler Arioald, the duke of Turin,. 
the husband of Adaloald’s sister Gundeberga, and after several combats 
dethroned King Adaloald, who was then said to have been removed by 
poison (626). Arioald reigned ten years too, without much change in 
the course of Lombard politics. He came in conflict with his Catholic 
wife, who was released from prison by the intervention of the Franks 

626—-652 | Duchy of Friuli 203 

and allowed Catholic service in a church of John the Baptist at 

The alliance which Agilulf had formed with the Avars was dissolved. 
They invaded Italy and killed Gisulf, duke of Friuli, with nearly the 
whole of his army; his widow perfidiously surrendered Cividale which 
was entirely burnt down and the open country was devastated, the 
Lombards offering resistance only in the fortified castles at the frontier, 
till the Avars turned back to Pannonia after their raid. No help was 
to be expected for Friuli at that time from the weak kingdom; but at 
last Gisulf’s sons escaped from the Avars, and the two eldest, Taso 
and Cacco, took the reins of government into their hands. While the 
power of the Avars was decreasing, the young dukes in alliance with 
Bavarians and Alemans fought successfully against the Slavs, and during 
Arioald’s reign penetrated victoriously into the valleys of the Alps 
perhaps as far as Windisch-Matrei and the valley of the Gail, and 
obliged the Slavs to pay tribute. But, following the intention of 
Arioald, it is said, the exarch quietly removed Taso and Cacco, and their 
uncle Grasulf was nominated duke of Friuli while the two younger sons 
of Gisulf, Radoald and Grimoald, appealed to the protection of the 
mighty duke Arichis of Benevento. 

After Arioald’s death the nobles in the kingdom elected the duke 
Rothari of Brescia, an ardent Arian, who was connected with the former 
dynasty by his marriage with the widowed queen Gundeberga. Never- 
theless his policy (unlike that of his predecessors in the last twenty years) 
was decidedly hostile to the Romans, though he tolerated the gradual 
establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in the Lombard kingdom. He 
sought to keep order in all internal matters and to raise the king’s authority 
over the nobles, and to this purpose war against the imperials, which had 
rested during two decades, was taken up again, in order to strengthen the 
king’s royal domain by new conquests. He passed the Apennines and 
conquered the coast between Luna and the Frankish boundary; he did not 
instal dukes here but kept the conquered land under direct royal adminis- 
tration, so that the greatest part of the west of Italy was royal. He 
destroyed Oderzo in the east, the last remnant of Roman power on the 
Venetian mainland, and slew the imperials in a bloody battle on the borders 
of the Scultenna not far from the central seat of Roman dominion ; he 
concluded a suspension of hostilities shortly before his death (652). His 
son Rodoald followed him, but was killed after a few months’ reign. 

More famous even than by his victorious enterprises and by the 
saga that attaches itself to the name of “King Rother,” Rothari was the 
first legislator of the Lombards. Up to that time, the Lombards, like 
all barbarian nations, had been ruled by customary laws, handed down 
to them verbally by their ancestors. Rothari ordered them to be written 
down, published as Edictus after having consulted his nobles, and con- 
firmed according to Lombard custom by an assembly of warriors at Pavia 

cH, VII. 

204 Rothari [ 643-662 

(22 Nov. 643). Of course it was a territorial law, for only the Lombard, 
who alone was “ fulc-free,” was subject to Lombard law in the Lombard 
State, and the fact of its being written down shewed clearly enough that 
the Lombard State placed itself in the same line with the respublica (the 
Empire) and the other acknowledged States as perfectly equal to them. 
When Rothari declares the law should protect the poor against the oppres- 
sions of the mighty, we can find therein part of the means he employed 
to keep order in internal matters. The kingdom was not only protected 
by some of the laws of the Edictus but also shewed its power by the 
fact of issuing legal regulations for the whole country, which, if not 
at once, were at all events after a short time accepted irrevocably from 
Benevento to Cividale. Its matter is essentially German law, but in 
the supplements which Rothari’s successors added, we can trace alien 
influence ; and, moreover, the form is naturally influenced by Roman 
patterns. Comparative science of law has proved that Lombard law 
had the greatest likeness to Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian law 
—a proof that the Lombards preserved their law unchanged in essential 
matters since their departure from the lower Elbe. he Edictus is 
systematically arranged, and treats of crimes against king, state or 
man, especially compensations for bodily injuries, law of inheritance 
and family right, and manumission, then obligations and real estate, 
crimes against property, oath and bail. It can well be called the best 
juridical codification of barbarian law. 

The successor of Rothari’s son was Aripert, the son of that duke 
Gundoald of Asti, who had come from Bavaria with his sister Theo- 
delinda. During the nine years of his reign he, as a Catholic, carried on 
the traditions of Theodelinda, in opposition to Rothari. He built a 
Catholic church at Pavia and favoured the Catholic hierarchy, although 
the assertion of a poem which celebrates the merits of his dynasty 
about the year 700, that “the good and pious king” abolished the 
Arian heresy, is probably exaggerated. The bishop of Pavia was 
converted to Catholicism. A change of policy took place only after his 
death (661), when his two young sons Godepert in Pavia and Perctarit 
in Milan, to whom he had left the government, fell out, and Godepert 
claimed the help of the mighty duke Grimoald of Benevento against 
his brother. After the death of Arichis, and of his son Ajo, who 
had perished in a battle against Slav pirates near Sipontum (662), the 
two sons of Gisulf of Friuli, Radoald and Grimoald, attained the 
dignity of dukedom consecutively, and energetically maintained their 
power in several battles against the imperialists. Grimoald, duke of 
Benevento since 657, now marched into North Italy by the east 
side of the Apennines against the centre of the Lombard realm, while 
his subordinate, the count of Capua, marched through Spoleto and 
Tuscia and joined the duke by Piacenza. Assisted by the treachery of 
the duke Garibald of Turin, Grimoald seized the reins of government 

662-671 | Grimoald 205 

himself after having killed King Godepert with his sword; Perctarit 
had fled from Milan to the Avars and his wife and young son Cuninc- 
pert had been sent into exile to Benevento. Grimoald now married 
Aripert’s daughter, who was already betrothed to him, and legitimated 
his power by a later election at Pavia; for the purpose of gaining 
firm support he bestowed royal domains in upper Italy on several 
of his faithful followers of Benevento. He was the first Lombard 
king who united the king’s royal domain in the north with Bene- 
vento under his actual government. 

Mighty as he was, Grimoald had a long struggle for the preservation 
of his royal power. Perctarit came back, and seemed to submit himself, 
but was soon obliged to fly to the Franks, after the discovery of a 
conspiracy between his followers and some disaffected dukes. The inter- 
vention of a Frankish army in favour of the banished dynasty had no 
success ; by stratagem Grimoald contrived to attack them suddenly near 
Asti and slew them. In the year 663 the Emperor Constans had landed 
at Tarentum, in order to obtain a new base for his heavily oppressed 
empire by conquests in the West, and the expulsion of the Lombards was 
naturally the first condition for this enterprise. The Emperor occupied 
Luceria with superior forces, assaulted Acerenza without success, and 
then besieged Grimoald’s young son Romuald at Benevento. The latter 
pledged his sister Gisa in token of submission after having offered resistance 
bravely; but Grimoald had already reached the river Sangro with a 
relieving army, though many Lombards had left him, and young Romuald 
did not fulfil his pledge; the Emperor gave up his siege and moved on 
to his own city of Naples. This imperial army was said to have been 
defeated twice: at all events Constans gave up war against the Lombards 
for a time and after a short visit to Rome went on to Sicily, where he was 
murdered. Romuald then occupied Tarentum, Brundusium and all the 
rest of the imperial dominion on the Adriatic coast of South Italy, with 
the exception of Hydruntum ; and Grimoald, after having installed 'Tran- 
samund, a duke of his choice, in Spoleto, again devoted himself to his most 
urgent tasks in North Italy, where he found in rebellion the duke Lupus 
of Friuli, whom he had left in his place at Pavia. Evidently menaced 
by other rebellions as well, the king himself appealed to the Khagan of 
the Avars, for help against the duke; Lupus perished in the battle, but 
the Avars now prepared to occupy Friuli as conquered land. But, in 
spite of the insufficiency of his military forces, Grimoald induced them to 
depart, and set up Wechthari, a powerful soldier and the terror of the 
Slavs, as duke of Friuli in place of Arnefrit, the son of Lupus, who had 
tried to regain his father’s inheritance by help of the Slavs, but had 
been beaten and killed near Nimis. Grimoald took away Forli from 
the imperials and razed to the ground Oderzo, where his brothers had 
once been murdered: then he made peace with the Franks, so that 
Perctarit did not feel safe any longer in his asylum, and prepared to fly 


206 The Bavarian Dynasty [ 671-698 

to England. At this time the mighty king Grimoald died, after 
having made sure the limits of his realm, and broken the dukes’ power, 
in the ninth year of his reign (671). His eldest son Romuald took his 
place in the dukedom of Benevento, while the young boy Garibald, his 
son by Aripert’s daughter, inherited the royal crown. 

By this time Perctarit returned from his exile and dethroned his 
nephew Garibald with the help of his numerous followers; he and his 
dynasty now held the throne for more than 40 years consecutively. He 
made his son Cunincpert co-regent (680) and entered into friendly terms 
with Romuald of Benevento, whose son, the younger Grimoald, married 
Perctarit’s daughter. In the south as well as in the north-west 
Catholicism gained exclusive power, and in Benevento and Pavia many 
foundations of cloisters spoke of a growing piety, shewn especially by the 
two princesses. Numerous Lombard bishops had already assisted at the 
Roman synod of 680; on the other hand the Three Chapters Schism 
lasted on in Austrasia, on the east border of the Adda, in contrast to 
Neustria westwards, where royalty had taken root more decidedly. The 
duke Alahis of Tridentum, who had extended his territory northward in 
the direction of the Bavarians, was too strong for Perctarit and even 
added the dukedom of Brescia to his own. After Perctarit’s death he 
also occupied Pavia, drove King Cunincpert to a refuge on an isle in the 
Lake of Como and acted as king, acknowledged by the greater part of the 
north of Italy. But passing for a heretic and acting recklessly against 
the Church, he made an enemy of the hierarchy, and Cunincpert was soon 
able to return to Pavia, protected by their adherents. Between Neustria 
and Austria on the field of Coronate a battle was fought between them ; 
Alahis fell, and a great part of his followers perished in the flood of the 
Adda. This was at once a victory of kingdom over dukedom, and 
orthodoxy over the Three Chapters Schism. An insurrection in Friuli 
was also subdued; at a synod that had been convoked at the king’s 
request in Pavia (698?) even those bishops of Austrasia who were still 
schismatic acknowledged the fifth and sixth oecumenical councils, and 
thus the unity of Catholic faith was established in Lombard Italy. The 
only lasting effect of this schism was the division of the patriarchate of 
Aquileia between the bishops of Grado and of Old-Aquileia, following 
the civil boundaries between Lombards and Romans. Even before the 
Roman Church triumphed throughout the whole Lombard realm, after 
the Emperor Constans’ attempt to reconquer what he had lost had failed, 
and the Bavarian dynasty’s traditional policy of peace had replaced 
Grimoald’s belligerent policy—even at that time definite peace had 
been made between the Empire and the Lombards, thereby placing the 
Lombard State amid the States which were officially acknowledged by the 
respublica. The acknowledgment of the status quo, the limits, which 
had been fixed by a hundred years of war, formed the basis of peace ; 
and the Lombards renounced any further policy of conquest. This peace 

671-712 | Roman Influence 207 

seems to have been concluded between 678-681 at Constantinople, and 
from that time the Lombard bishops, when the pope confirmed their 
nomination at Rome, swore to provide that “ peace, which God loves, 
be maintained in eternity between the Respublica and us, that is, the 
Lombard people.” 

Roman influence affected the Lombards in different ways. Inter- 
course with the half-free Roman subjects had always been a strong force 
since the beginning of the settlement; the schismatics coming from the 
Roman Empire had found reception even at a very early period, as had 
the merchants during the times of armistice, who maintained friendly 
relations and profited by the great Lombard market; but when definite 
peace had been made, lasting relations and safe intercourse with the new 
allies were possible, so that free Romans and above all Catholic clergy 
established themselves in the lands of their new friends and allies, who 
also acknowledged their right to be tried by Roman law. Intermarriage 
must have frequently happened at a very early period, and was furthered by 
Lombard laws, which considered the freedman and free as equal, so that 
marriages with freedmen or freedwomen were allowed and very common ; 
after the definite peace even unions between Lombards and women of the 
Roman Empire were not a rare thing either. As the Lombards were in 
a small minority, even in their own territory, intermarriage naturally 
had a marked effect. The adaptation of the reigning people to the 
Roman culture they had found led the same way. Thus they came to 
the knowledge of new forms of culture and luxury, which could only be 
satisfied in the Roman manner, partly by the industry of Roman subjects, 
partly by booty made in war, and since the peace also by regular imports. 
Trade and art are of Roman stamp, although the workmanship is decayed 
and accommodates itself somewhat to barbarian taste. It was only in 
Italy that the Lombards learnt to erect stone buildings, to construct 
larger ships and use weapons of metal; their clothing changed similarly 
and they gradually accepted the vulgar Latin language, especially because 
all the terms of their new culture belonged to that language, the only 
written language used, not only for written law, but all other documents 
which were drawn up by Roman ecclesiastics and notaries following 
Roman formulae. As their importance grew, the written word gained 
supremacy in all matters of law. The oldest stories of Lombard history 
and tradition are also written in Latin, and whatever there was of science, 
in connexion with the Roman Church, was of course Latin. So the 
lasting peace, and especially the peace with the Catholic Church, essentially 
accelerated the process of assimilation in this sphere as well as in all others. 

Constitutional development, as well as culture, was conditioned by the 
fact and manner of settlement. The territorial State develops a central- 
ising kingship in combat with centrifugal forces, and hides the original 
basis of German freedom. The sept or clan had already lost every 
economical foundation by the settlement, and we find no traces of the 


208 Government [671-712 

centena among the Lombards. Politically the sept recedes as well, but 
in matters of right it is only gradually superseded by the State. Rothart’s 
legislation endeavours to restrain the feud-right to the sept; high 
penalties are fixed for the purpose of making the injured choose these 
instead of feud ; guiltless acts are not to lead to feud. The members of 
the sept intervene as assistants at an oath, as combatants for a woman’s 
right at an ordeal; and the mundiwm of an unmarried woman is due to 
the members of the sept if she has no nearer family relations. In contrast 
to these poor remnants of the sept’s power, which once had been so great, 
family-connexion is very powerful, so that even by a disposal a last will 
was allowed only very late and quite exceptionally. The national 
assembly, that is the assembly of arimanni, still existed, and this as 
well as the kingship expressed the Lombard unity; but this assembly 
also was naturally entirely changed by the territorial State, having lost 
its organic foundations in the septs, and as an assembly comprising all 
or nearly all warriors was quite impossible considering the territorial 
extension of the State. In reality it consisted only in the army that was 
just ready for military operations, the king’s attendants and the dukes 
and nobles present, and, whereas the nobles were actually often sum- 
moned to the preparatory council, the assembly of warriors had no 
possibility of influencing current state affairs and only served to 
heighten solemnities at a king’s election or law-giving. The other 
element of unity, which had probably been born only in the time of 
wanderings—the kingship—predominated more and more in comparison; 
it seems to have been attached to one family at a very early period, 
and up to the eighth century connexion with the Lethingians was kept up 
at least by the feminine line; but besides this inherited right, general 
German custom demanded election, raising upon the buckler, and a solemn 
act of fealty from the fideles. On the other hand, the territorial State and 
Roman influence soon decided the extent of the king’s power, though he 
called himself rex gentis Langobardorum. This influence expresses itself 
not only in the addition of the Roman name of Flavius and the Roman 
name of honour, vir excellentissimus, but also in the assertion of the 
king’s nearly unlimited power, which is already expressed in Rothari’s 
Edict: ‘we believe that the hearts of the kings are in the hands of 
God.” 'The king has not only the arriére-ban, and all rights in connexion 
with it. As supreme justice and protector of peace, he has his own 
peace secured by a high penalty, intercedes wherever all other forces 
give way, is the Lombard State’s supreme guardian in a certain sense, 
and being the State’s only representative, no difference is made between 
his own rights and those of the State. His alone is the right of coinage, 
since the Lombards—before Rothari even—had learnt the art and use 
of coining from the Romans; and that the duke of Benevento coined as 
well as the king only shews how independent he kept himself of the 
Lombard State. 

671—712 | Government 209 

Opposed to the centralising kingdom is the particular power of the 
dukes, their different positions varying of course from the summus dux 
gentis Langobardorum down to the duke of a small provincial town in 
North Italy. But on the whole the dukes endeavoured to found their 
power on inherited rights, and to exercise in their own territory the 
same authority which belonged to the king in the whole State, whereas 
the king claimed for himself the right of nominating the dukes and treated 
them as his officials. But the foundation of the king’s royal domain 
was especially intended to counterbalance the power of the dukes; the 
larger this royal domain, the greater was the power of the State. 
Except those duchies which were in the hands of the royal family, this 
royal domain is said to have been partly formed by the half of all ducal 
property, which was given up to Cleph—though this cession can only 
relate to the dukes of a part of northern Italy—and partly by the 
conquest of new land, which was not left to the dukes. The whole 
royal domain has its own royal administration, lying in the hands of 
the gastaldi who are partly royal stewards, partly the king’s repre- 
sentatives with competence in matters of arriére-ban and judgment, but 
being only the king’s officials they have, in contrast to the dukes, no 
independent jurisdiction. In Benevento and Spoleto, where immediate 
royal power does not reach, the gastaldi are officials of the duke in the 
district of a civitas. Subordinated to these zudices, that is the dukes 
and gastaldi who generally reside in walled towns and whose office 
consists in a whole iwdictaria, stand the actores (sculdahis, centenarius, 
locopositus) out of town, and these are assisted by saltarii, decana, etc. 

Change of social structure caused a change of power in the Lombard 
State. Although differences in distribution of the land had always 
been made in correspondence with a family’s rank, and although the 
wergeld was not uniform but varied by habit and secundum qualitatem 
personae, every Lombard was not only warrior but also landlord and lord 
of the manor. This ruling nation stood in contrast only to those who 
had no political rights, the colont and aldi and massaru (unfree farmers 
on holdings), as well as the likewise unfree ministeriales of the Sal-land 
and the unfree agricultural assistant labourers ; the Lombards only were 
taken into account politically as well as economically. But this distribu- 
tion having been made but once, gave no security whatever for a lasting 
condition; the natural increase of population and the accidental im- 
poverishment of Lombard families, as well as manumissions to complete 
freedom, created a class of Lombards without land. Part of them 
worked as tenants, that is small tenants, who took holdings on lease for 
29 years, remaining legally free, but losing in social standard (libellarit) ; 
another part may have become merchants, trade developing on account 
of the definite peace, and so commercial capital stood alongside of land 
rent. This new state of economic affairs expressed itself also in military 
service which was varied according to property as early as the eighth 

C. MED. H. VOL. II. CH. VII. 14 

210 Society [671-712 

century, commercial capital being placed on a par with landed property. 
A law of 750 dictates cavalry service with coat of mail and horse and com- 
plete equipment to all who possess at least seven casae massariae; the 
landlord of at least 40 iwgera has to follow with one horse, lance and 
shield ; those who possess still less, with shield and bow; a part of the 
poor was obliged to do socage service in the fields at home. ‘This economic 
development rendered it possible for the king to form for himself a 
power independent of its former limitations within the State, creating a 
central organisation of power by investing the free poor with landed 
property out of his royal domain. The king, that is the State, at this 
time of natural economy owed his income to landed property and 
payments in kind, for instance the different munera (augariae and operae) 
to preserve public streets and buildings, and different duties, market 
duties, port duties, which were raised by royal actores and were of 
entirely Roman origin. The royal property was naturally increased by 
every new conquest, and the coloni and slaves paying duties were used 
as if they were private property; or the king took possession of the 
land which had been public before the conquest, and let it to the neigh- 
bouring hordes for pasture. 

The royal court lived on the income from the landed property, 
but this court was composed of followers who stood in a special 
relation of fealty to the king, the Gasindi, who on that account were 
greatly honoured, and had a higher wergeld than the other free Lombards. 
The king entrusted them with all sorts of commissions and delegations, 
chose all court officers from them, especially to the royal marshal 
(marpahis), the majordomus (stolesaz), the treasurer (vesterarius), the 
sword-bearer (spatharius), the chancellor (referendarius). In this manner 
a special court-nobility developed itself through the king’s favour, stand- 
ing in contrast and competition with the Lombard nobility. But it was 
also the custom that such Gasindi were endowed with land by the king, 
so that the king’s landed estate provided for this new nobility not only 
indirectly by keeping up the royal household, but also directly. ‘This 
new institution was only rendered possible by the fact that a considerable 
part of the population, when the original conditions of the Lombard 
settlement were changed, was obliged to seek a new existence, and 
found it by the king’s favour. On the other hand the king’s possessions 
diminished continually by these donations, so that for him and _ his 
adherents it was necessary periodically to gain new land; and this was 
generally only possible through new conquests, and so the peaceful period 
of the Bavarian dynasty was followed by a belligerent period. 

After Cunincpert’s death (700), his young son Liutpert reigned under 
the wise Ansprand’s guardianship. Raginpert, duke of Turin, son of 
Godepert and nephew of Perctarit, claimed the throne and defeated 
Ansprand near Novara, eight months after Cunincpert’s death. When 
he died, shortly afterwards, his son and co-regent Aripert (II), after a 

700—738 | The Fall of the Bavarian Dynasty | 211 

second battle, took prisoner Liutpert, who had again advanced against 
Pavia, and sent the duke Rothari of Bergamo, who aspired to the throne, 
into exile to Turin, where he was killed after a few days. Now Ansprand 
was also obliged to leave his refuge on Lake Como and fly to the duke 
Teutpert of Bavaria. Liutpert was killed, Ansprand’s eldest son blinded, 
his wife and daughter mutilated, and only his youngest son Liutprand 
spared. So the family of Godepert ruined the race of Perctarit. 
But no change of policy took place. King Aripert II was peaceable and 
friendly towards the Romans, and even gave back to the pope the 
patrimony in the Cottian Alps. He was dethroned in winter 712, 
when Ansprand came back to Italy, after nine years of exile, with a 
Bavarian army. Aripert fled to Pavia and was drowned when trying to 
swim through the Ticino, burdened with all his treasures. Ansprand 
was acknowledged as king but only reigned for three months ; but on his 
death-bed he was told that the Lombards had raised his son Liutprand 
upon the buckler and thereby legitimated his own usurpation as well. 
He died 13 June 712. 

Though Liutprand did not reverse the Lombard State’s development 
during the last hundred and fifty years, he favoured Roman influence with- 
in his realm in every way. He left no doubt concerning his orthodoxy and 
‘attachment to the Roman faith, while nobody surpassed his generosity 
towards churches and monasteries, but he still followed the glorious 
traditions of the victorious kings which had been interrupted after 
Grimoald, and strictly kept in view his aim of uniting Italy under the 
Lombard kingdom, although he chose various ways of approaching 
it in the course of his reign. For this reason he was opposed by the 
Roman Empire and the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, who had been 
nearly independent during the Bavarian dynasty’s reign. Mixed up in 
quarrels about the Bavarian throne through his affinity with the dukes 
of Bavaria, he advanced the Lombard boundaries to Mais near Meran ; 
for the rest the northern frontier was well defended by his friendship 
with the Frankish Charles Martel, whose son Pepin he had adopted by 
shaving of the hair according to an old custom, and to whom he had 
even brought help against the Saracens in Provence (737-738). In 
domestic politics he continued his predecessor’s legislation, endeavoured 
to protect his subjects against denial of legal help, and intervened with 
great energy in administration and jurisdiction by the royal court of 
justice in Pavia and by special miss. His aim was naturally to replace 
the loose structure of the Lombard State by a series of officials ruled by 
the king, and one of his most efficient means was to give the preference 
to the: Gasindi, and another was to instal relations and other Jideles in 
all duchies and bishoprics. His ideal of kingship, which is evident 
in his laws, already shews a great difference from that of the former 
Lombard kings and is strongly influenced by Roman and ecclesiastical 


CH. VII. 14--2 

212 Liutprand [727-732 

The time was favourable for an aggressive policy, because Roman 
Italy, led by the pope, rose in rebellion against the Emperor. Common 
hostility against the Emperor formed a link between Liutprand and 
Pope Gregory II for a while, but the pope soon came to see clearly that 
the king near him was more dangerous than the distant Emperor. As a 
token of friendship Liutprand, following the pope’s admonition, restored 
to him his confiscated patrimony in the Cottian Alps. For the moment 
peace was only endangered by the duke Romuald II of Benevento, who 
attacked the castle of Cumae by surprise; but after the duke of Naples, 
aided by the pope’s militia, had regained the place and killed the garrison, 
the pope even paid Romuald the indemnification which he had offered for 
a peaceable evacuation, and thereby won his friendship. Meanwhile the 
duke Faroald of Spoleto began to move as well; Narni was taken, 
Liutprand occupied Classis, the port of Ravenna, and carried booty and 
prisoners away. He gained other successes at the cost of the respublica; 
the frontier castles surrendered to him and so he was able to extend the 
Lombard boundary to Bologna; Osimo in Pentapolis went over to him as 
well. Then he turned southwards, and attacked the castle of Sutri by 
surprise (728) ; this was too much for the pope; the king approached too 
nearly his own sphere of action. After Liutprand had been in possession 
of the castle for one hundred and seventy days, the pope insisted on his 
“restoring and donating ” it to the apostles Peter and Paul. Meanwhile 
the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento had entered into a league with the 
pope and defended the frontier of the ducatus Romae against the troops 
of the Emperor. The new exarch Eutychius, who had landed at Naples, 
did not succeed in making the two dukes desert the league with the 
pope; his entreaties had no effect on Liutprand till he offered a very 
important service to the king, placing his own troops at the king’s 
disposal against the independent dukes, so as to take them in the rear 
and force them to render homage to the king and send hostages in token 
of their fidelity. The king repaid this service by leading the exarch to 
Rome, and as the pope could not think of resistance, he again submitted 
to the Emperor. But the Lombard troops did not enter the imperial 
town and Liutprand paid homage to the graves of the Principes apo- 
stolorum whom he had never intended to combat (729). So the Italian 
revolution brought double success to Liutprand: territorial acquisition 
of land in the north and the two dukes’ formal submission in the south ; 
and at the same time he had appeared as principal arbiter in these 
differences on Italian soil. 

Liutprand’s next care was to make the two duchies’ formal dependency 
real and effective. When difficulties arose after the death of Romuald II 
of Benevento (731-732), on account of the succession, he marched on 
Benevento, carried away the young duke Gisulf for education, and 
installed his own nephew Gregorius, relying upon his own sovereign 
power. Nearly at the same time, after a breach of the league with the 

732—740 | Liutprand 213 

exarch, a plot of the Roman dux of Perusia against Bologna miscarried, 
and a Lombard army led by Hildeprand, another nephew of Liutprand, 
occupied the impregnable town of Ravenna, the centre of the imperial 
administration. But the exarch succeeded in regaining the capital by 
a sudden attack and making Hildeprand prisoner, with help of the navy 
of the lagoons, against which the Lombards were helpless. Soon after 
this misfortune Liutprand seems to have concluded an armistice, on 
account of which Hildeprand was sent back. Then Liutprand fell ill at 
Pavia (735), Hildeprand was proclaimed king by the Lombards, and 
Liutprand acknowledged him as co-regent after his recovery. New 
difficulties arose in Friuli, where the duke Pemmo had covered the 
Lombard name with fame in different combats with the Slavs and 
displayed great splendour in his princely court at Cividale; he got 
entangled in a quarrel with the king’s favourite Calistus, whom Liut- 
prand had made patriarch of Aquileia, because the latter wanted to 
remove his residence from the small town of Cormons to Cividale, and 
had taken by force the bishop’s palace, which the dukes had resigned to 
the fugitive bishop of Julia Carnica. Liutprand interceded in the 
patriarch’s favour, dismissed the duke Pemmo and set up in his place his 
son Ratchis, who proved himself the king’s faithful subject. No king 
had ever reigned so powerfully. 
But now the time had come when Liutprand thought it necessary 
to deal the death-blow to the Roman Empire in Italy, as soon as the 
independence of the duke in middle Italy was broken. This duke, 
Transamund of Spoleto, had taken the Roman castle Gallese and might 
have been of great use to the king in barring the communication between 
Ravenna and Rome, but he preferred to deliver up the castle to the pope 
Gregory III, engaging himself never to carry arms against him any more. 
But Liutprand, crossing the Pentapolis, arrived at Spoleto in June 739, 
and appointed a new duke Hilderich, while Transamund fled to Rome. 
The king demanded in vain the rebel’s delivery before the walls of Rome, 
took away the castles of Ameria, Horta, Polimartium, and Bleda from 
the ducatus Romae, but then returned to North Italy. Meanwhile a 
Roman party in Benevento set up one Godescalc in the duchy in place 
of the deceased duke Gregorius, without regard to the king’s claims. In 
the following year (740) Liutprand and Hildeprand attacked Ravenna 
and laid the exarchate under contribution, and at the same time Lom- 
bard hordes breaking out of the castles devastated the Campagna. ‘The 
pope sent an embassy, praying the king to give back these border forts, and 
also claimed the help of the Lombard bishops by a circular letter. At 
the same time the army of the ducatus Romae, aided by Benevento, 
reinstated in Spoleto the duke Transamund, who was accepted with open 
arms by his own people (Dec. 740). But even now Transamund did not 
dare to attack the king and win back to the Romans the four castles, as 
the pope had wished. Pope Zachary, who had followed Gregory at the 

CH. VIi. 

214 Liutprand [741-744 

end of 741, gave up his predecessor’s Spoletan policy in consequence, 
and offered to the king the help of the Roman army against Spoleto, 
on condition of his promise to restore the four castles. Attacked on 
two sides (742) Transamund surrendered to the king; then the latter 
advanced against Benevento, and as Godescale abandoned his own 
country and was surrendered before he reached the ship destined to 
bring him to Constantinople, the king gave back his ancestral duchy to 
Gisulf who had by now grown up and was faithfully devoted to him. 
But after he had brought all difficulties in South Italy to an end the 
pope himself overtook him on his way back in his camp at Terni, 
reminding him of his promise. The Catholic king received the pope 
with all customary marks of reverence, and gave him the desired charter 
concerning the restoration of the four towns. After this several nobles 
escorted the pope on his return journey, and handed over to him the 
keys of the surrendered towns, and the parts of the patrimony which had 
been conquered were also restored to him. In exchange for this the 
pope concluded an armistice with the king for twenty years in the name 
of the ducatus Romae. In this way the king meant to eliminate one 
enemy, in order to concentrate all his forces against the other part of 
the Roman dominion. After having appointed his nephew Agiprand 
duke of Spoleto, he crossed the Apennines and sent his army against 
Ravenna at the beginning of the following year (743). The exarch 
and the archbishop of Ravenna in their desperation begged for the 
pope’s intervention, and the latter actually came to meet the king at 
Pavia, by way of Ravenna. ‘The king condescended to conclude an 
armistice, occupying the castles of Caesena and part of the territory of 
Ravenna meanwhile as a pledge, until the embassy he sent to Constanti- 
nople should have concluded a definite peace. We do not know Liut- 
prand’s real motives for giving up the attack; but it seems possible 
that changes of foreign politics, especially with the Franks, as well as 
sympathy with the Romans within the Lombard realm, nourished by 
the bishops, joined with personal motives to cause his compliance. 
Though he had not attained his aim when he died at the beginning of 
the year 744, he had brought the Lombard State’s power to a height 
which it had never before attained. 

Liutprand’s former co-regent Hildeprand followed him on the throne, 
but was not acknowledged everywhere. 'Transamund returned to Spoleto. 
Ratchis of Friuli was proclaimed king and Hildeprand dethroned after 
eight months’ monarchy. ‘The imperialists greeted the elevation of 
Ratchis with joy, and the new king actually concluded peace with Rome 
for twenty years. In Spoleto he asserted his authority, and Transamund 
was replaced by a new duke, Lupus. We may judge by the severity of 
his orders concerning passports, and by his rules against riot that Ratchis 
was prepared to meet dangers from within and without, and so he tried 
to increase his party by ample distributions of land to the Church, and 

749-753 | Ratchs. Aistulf 215 

to the Romans, the countrymen of his wife Tassia. He evidently strove 
to lessen the disparity between Romans and Lombards. Nevertheless 
he saw himself compelled to invade the imperial Pentapolis and besiege 
Perusia. But when he desisted from this blockade upon the pope’s 
personal intervention, the Lombards gave vent to their indignation over 
their king’s romanising policy. The nobles raised Aistulf, the king’s 
brave and fierce brother, upon the buckler at Milan (June 749); Ratchis 
was forced to abdicate, went to St Peter’s on pilgrimage, was accepted as 
a monk by the pope, and retired to Monte Cassino. 

Aistulf immediately took up again with the greatest energy Liut- 
prand’s conquering policy. The donations which Ratchis had made 
before Aistulf’s elevation were annulled, intercourse with Romans was 
forbidden, commerce with a foreign country keenly watched, the frontier 
well guarded, and military duty regulated on the basis of the new social 
structure. The important towns of Comacchio and Ferrara were occupied 
and the Lombard king gave forth a charter as early as 7 July 751 in the 
palace of Ravenna, which the last exarch, Eutychius, was said to have 
surrendered. The north of Italy was now entirely in the hands of the 
Lombards, except the district of the Lagoons and the towns of Istria. 
Aistulf turned to central Italy, where Duke Lupus had died, and took 
into his own hands the government of Spoleto, the key-city of Rome. 
His next assault was of course directed to Rome. He stood before the 
walls of Rome in June 752 and received a papal embassy ; it is alleged 
that he promised peace for forty years but broke the armistice after 
four months. His conditions were very hard: tribute paid by the 
inhabitants of the ducatws Romae and acknowledgment of his sovereignty. 
He ordered the abbots of Monte Cassino and St Vincenzo, who had 
appeared as the pope’s envoys before him, to follow his commands as 
Lombard subjects, and return to their monasteries without entering 
Rome. The Emperor’s embassy, which was conducted to Ravenna by 
the pope’s brother, only so far succeeded that Aistulf sent an envoy to 
Constantinople with proposals that seemed unacceptable, at least to the 
pope. But the two envoys returned to Italy without having effected 
their object, while the Lombards had taken the castle of Ceccano, which 
belonged to the Church. Now Pope Stephen obtained a safe conduct 
and at the Emperor’s command marched himself to Aistulf’s court at 
Pavia (autumn 753). The king sent to meet him with orders not 
to venture a word about restoring the conquered territory. But the 
pope was not to be deterred, and fervently entreated the king to fulfil 
the conditions contained in a letter which an imperial envoy had 
brought. But it was in vain. Then the Frankish ambassadors, who 
had accompanied the pope, intervened and required Aistulf to let the 
pope go to Gaul. When the pope, at his next audience, declared 
that it was actually his intention to cross the Alps, Aistulf, it is said, 
roared with rage like a wild beast. But after vain endeavours to change 


216 The Frankish Intervention [753-756 

the pope’s resolution, he was obliged to dismiss him, not daring to detain 
him by force and expose himself to immediate conflict with the Franks. 
The pope left Pavia on 5 November. The new Frankish king Pepin was 
clearly resolved upon interfering in Italy, and Aistulf saw himself face 
to face with a new situation immediately before reaching the aim he had 
longed for so fervently. 

But all links had not yet been broken off. Pepin sent embassies 
over the Alps three times in order to induce Aistulf to yield, but in 
vain. The public feeling among the Frankish nobles was by no means 
favourable to war, and Aistulf, wishing to profit thereby, sent to Gaul 
Pepin’s brother and former co-regent Carloman, who was now monk in 
Monte Cassino. While the Frankish army was already advancing, the 
pope once more sent a letter full of entreaties to Aistulf, and Pepin 
offered 12,000 solidi as recompense for the disputed territories ; Aistulf 
refused with threats and brought the whole of his forces, and the military 
material he had stored up for his enterprise against Rome, to Susa at 
the foot of Mont Cenis, awaiting the Franks’ attack. He was too 
impatient however to hold out behind the fortified clusae, and attacked 
the Frankish vanguard by surprise; but not being able to deploy his 
superior forces in the narrow vale, he was thrown back and was himself 
very nearly killed; then he concentrated the rest of his army in the 
fortified city of Pavia, where the main army of the Franks appeared 
after a few days. But as the Franks shrank from a long siege and the 
Frankish nobles, who had kept up friendly relations with the Lombards 
dating perhaps from the time of Charles Martel, tried to mediate, 
peace was made, Aistulf confirmed the treaty by oath, promising to 
surrender those territories of Italy he had occupied illegally and to 
acknowledge formally the Frankish king’s sovereignty. He sent forty 
hostages and made lavish presents to the king and the nobles as recom- 
pense for the expenses of war (autumn 754). The pope returned to 
Rome, accompanied by the Frankish ambassador Fulrad, and Pepin 
retired over the Alps. But Aistulf did not think of keeping his oath. 
Of all the towns he only surrendered Narni, and seeing that Pepin did 
not interfere again, he resolved to put an end to the quarrel by a master 
stroke. On 1 Jan. 756 a Lombard army again encamped before Rome 
on the right bank of the Tiber, Aistulf rapidly approached from Spoleto 
and the Beneventans from the south. With terrible threats, he re- 
quired the pope’s surrender while his bands plundered the Campagna. 
Pepin’s envoy, the abbot Warnehar, fought against the Lombards in 
full harness and then informed his prince of what he had seen. But 
Rome’s strong walls saved her again; Aistulf gave up the siege after 
five months and returned to Pavia (5 April) to await a new attack 
from Pepin when winter was over and the melting snow rendered the 
passage possible. 

The Lombards were once more dispersed by the Franks near the 

756-763 | Desiderius 217 

clusae of Mont Cenis, and Aistulf again took refuge behind the walls 
of Pavia. Shut up in this fortress, he again entreated forgiveness 
and peace of Pepin by the nobles’ intervention. The latter granted 
the rebel life and realm, which he had forfeited. F ollowing the Frankish 
verdict to which he had appealed, he was obliged to pay as indemnity 
a third of the great royal hoard and costlier presents than two years before 
to guarantee his further submission, and engage himself to pay a yearly 
tribute of 12,000 solidi, as the Lombards had once done in the time of 
Agilulf. He actually now yielded up the towns whose surrender had 
been stipulated two years earlier and Comacchio besides, and so the same 
boundaries were re-established which had parted the two territories 
before Aistulf’s accession to the throne. Liutprand’s conquests however 
remained to the Lombard dominion, so that to the great disappoint- 
ment of pope and emperor the status of the peace made in 680 was 
not restored. Nevertheless this was the greatest humiliation the 
Lombard realm had ever suffered for more than a century and a half, 
since that first league between the Byzantine Emperor and the Franks 
had been broken. Aistulf’s eager policy of attack was crossed by a 
new factor which had not entered into his predecessor’s calculations. 
The proud king did not long survive his fall. He died in consequence 
of an accident while hunting (December 756). 

After Aistulf’s death a grave crisis broke out in the Lombard State. 
The monk Ratchis left Monte Cassino and was acknowledged as ruler, 
“servant of Christ and prince of the Lombard people,” especially in the 
north of the Apennines. But Spoleto as well as Benevento detached 
itself from the kingdom and set up Alboin as duke of Spoleto, who 
swore an oath of allegiance to the pope and the Frankish king. ‘The 
duke Desiderius was raised upon the buckler in Tuscany, and as he 
engaged himself by document and by oath to surrender the towns 
belonging to the Empire, and to live in peace and friendship with the 
pope and the Frankish king, the Frankish plenipotentiary in Rome 
supported him with great energy and the pope prepared the Roman 
army for his defence. Ratchis then abdicated for the second time. On 
the pope’s demand, Desiderius actually ceded Faenza and Ferrara, but 
as soon as he felt himself sure on the throne, he entered Spoleto by 
force without consideration of the pope’s wishes, made Duke Alboin 
prisoner as a rebel, drove away the duke Liutprand of Benevento, who 
was obliged to take refuge behind the walls of Otranto, and set up 
Arichis as duke in his place, and gave him his daughter Adelperga to 
wife. He made a proposal of co-operation against the pope and the 
duke of Benevento to an imperial embassy which passed by: at the 
same time he tried to render the pope’s connexion with his former 
allies as difficult as possible, appeared at St Peter’s grave in Rome, 
pretending friendly intentions, and forced the pope to write a letter to 
Pepin, interceding for the surrender of the Lombard hostages. To be 


218 Desiderius [763-771 

sure the pope recalled this letter by means of the very messenger who 
brought it, but still Desiderius succeeded in averting a new Frankish 
intervention, greatly desired by the pope, by making certain concessions, 
especially in relation to the patrimonies. At his next visit to Rome, 
Desiderius framed a compact on the Frankish embassies’ advice about 
763 on the basis of mutual acknowledgment of the status quo; and 
Desiderius promised to come to the pope’s aid with all his forces in 
case of an attack from the Emperor. It was only after Pope Paul’s 
death (767) that new difficulties with Rome arose when a party, hostile 
to the late government, had raised Constantine to the papal throne, and 
the defeated party’s leader, the primicerius Christophorus, claimed the 
Lombards’ help. The defeated party entered Rome by force, led by 
Lombard troops and the Lombard priest Waldipert, but the Lombard 
candidate Philip was not able to maintain himself on the papal throne 
in place of Constantine ; Stephen III was elected and Waldipert himself 
slain by his former adherents (768). Shortly after this failure Desiderius 
tried to procure the archbishopric of Ravenna for Michael, one of his 
confidants (769); but Frankish commissioners dismissed him at the 
pope’s wish. 

A new combination in foreign politics seemed to change the present 
situation to the disadvantage of the pope and in favour of Desiderius. 
Desiderius and 'Tassilo of Bavaria, both menaced by the Frankish pre- 
ponderance, had entered into friendly relations, and Tassilo had married 
Liutperga, daughter of Desiderius. Pepin’s widow Bertrada conceived 
the plan of securing peace by bringing one of her sons into relationship 
with the Lombard royal family. Notwithstanding the pope’s amaze- 
ment, she crossed the Alps and asked one of Desiderius’ daughters in 
marriage for her son Charles. The betrothal took place under the 
guarantee of the Frankish nobles and the marriage was accomplished. 
Meanwhile Bertrada had endeavoured to reassure the pope about her 
transactions with Desiderius. The latter had evidently renewed his 
promise to respect the territorial status guo and restore the patrimonies 
which were the private property of the Roman Church. Of course the 
next consequence was the fall of the anti-Lombard party prevailing in 
Rome. This was approved of by the pope, who wanted to escape his 
minister’s predominant influence. Desiderius appeared before Rome 
with military forces, but under pretence of praying at the Apostle’s 
grave and arranging disputed questions. The pope came out to him 
and received his promise by oath. But a papal chamberlain named 
Paulus Afiarta, the leader of the Lombard party, raised up within the 
town a revolt against Christophorus, whereupon the pope maintained 
that Christophorus and his party conspired against his life. The accused 
offered resistance within the town, but were betrayed by the Romans, 
abandoned by the pope, and cruelly killed by Paulus Afiarta and his 

accomplices. Desiderius did not now want to hear anything more 

759-772 | Find of the Lombard Kingdom 219 

about transactions with the pope. But the Frankish kings seem to have 
taken offence at his way of acting. Carloman died in Dec. 771, 
but Charles, who laid claim to the whole Frankish realm without 
considering Carloman’s children, resolved to depart from the last year’s 
policy. He repudiated Desiderius’ daughter, well knowing that he made 
an enemy of the Lombard king by this insult. Carloman’s widow 
Gerberga with her children and followers fled to the Lombard king, 
who was ready to use them as weapons against Charles. The new pope 
Hadrian was naturally on the side of Charles, and so the political com- 
bination of the time before Bertrada’s intervention was re-established. 
Embassies between the pope and Desiderius had no effect, because the 
pope did not trust the king’s promises, and for fear of losing his hold 
upon the Frankish king firmly refused to anoint as kings Carloman’s 
children at the wish of Desiderius. Paulus Afiarta and his followers 
(the Lombard party) were removed and punished, so that the Frankish 
influence again decided the papal policy. 

Meanwhile Desiderius had again occupied Faenza, Ferrara, Comacchio 
(spring 772), and threatened Ravenna on every side; then he took 
Sinigaglia, Jesi, Urbino, Gubbio, commanded his troops to attack Bieda 
and Otricoli, in order to frighten the pope, and marched against Rome 
with Carloman’s children, after having vainly entreated the pope to 
come to him. The latter made all preparations for defence and raised 
his forces in Rome, but sent three bishops to the royal camp at Viterbo 
with a bull, threatening with excommunication the king and all who 
dared to step upon Roman soil. Desiderius actually broke up his camp 
and retired; but the answer he made to the Frankish embassies, which 
appeared in Italy at the pope’s wish, in order to become acquainted with 
the state of things, shews clearly enough that he expected to meet 
a decisive stroke. He had prepared himself for this moment during the 
whole time of his reign, trying to ensure the dynasty by the nomination 
of his son Adalgis as co-regent (759), and to restrain the independence 
of the dukes, though still attaching them to his person. He had made 
costly presents to the great monasteries, and endowed them with 
privileges, and had strengthened his party by new donations of landed 
property. But nevertheless the Lombard kingdom did not offer united 
resistance to the Franks. A number of emigrants had already fled to 
the Franks even before the beginning of the war, and many nobles now 
left Spoleto and went to Rome. Benevento did not take any part in 
the war, and after the first failure not only the Spoletan contingents but 
also a number of towns submitted to the pope voluntarily. Charles only 
found resistance from the towns where the Lombard kings defended 
themselves. Treason played a great part in the fall of the Lombard 
realm, a fact which can be traced even in the sagas. After having 
refused Charles’ last offer, to pay 17,000 solidi if he fulfilled the pope’s 
demand, Desiderius put his trust in the strong position near the clusae 


220 End of the Lombard Kingdom [773-774 

of Susa, which he had fortified. Here, at the Porta d’ Italia, he expected 
Charles, who marched over Mont Cenis, while another corps took its 
way over the Great St Bernard. But, owing to this circuit, no battle 
seems to have taken place. Desiderius was obliged to retire to Pavia 
(Sept. 773) with the warriors who were still faithful to him, while 
Adalgis sought refuge with Carloman’s children behind the fortified walls 
of Verona, but fled from here also after a time and went into exile 
at Constantinople. But except at Pavia and Verona Charles found no 
resistance whatever in the Lombard realm. Verona with Carloman’s 
children surrendered even before Christmas to a detached troop under 
Charles himself, whereas the siege of Pavia was prolonged to the 
beginning of June 774, though famine and epidemics raged within the 

After the capitulation Charles brought Desiderius and his wife to 
Gaul with the royal treasure, having received homage of the Lombards 
who had gathered at Pavia, leaving there a Frankish garrison. 
This was the end of the independent Lombard realm, and Charles 
dated his succession in this realm from the fall of the royal town of 
Pavia. ; 

To be sure, the duchy of Benevento in the south had succeeded in 
keeping its independence throughout all these disasters, and the prince 
Arichis, Desiderius’ son-in-law, considered himself the Lombard king’s 
successor ; but, important as this fact has proved for Italian history, 
the Lombard kingdom had always been rooted in the north. The 
occasion for its fall was given by the renewal of that combination 
between the remnants of the respublica, now represented by the pope, 
and the Franks, who had developed into a consolidated power; and 
the Lombard State had never been equal to these combined forces. 
A deeper reason lay in the structure of the Lombard State, which 
had not been able, even in the intervals of peace, to attain any organic 
unity. The small number of the Lombard people in connexion with 
their form of settlement, conditioned as it was by the state of affairs 
in the Roman Empire, had given too great importance from the first 
to the single local groups and their dukes. Kingship, which had 
been re-established in the distress of those times, exerted its uniting 
and centralising power very slowly, and a perfect union had never 
been accomplished. For the kingdom was founded on its royal domain, 
and the latter on new conquests of land, with which the king’s followers 
had to be furnished. As was always the case in the medieval State 
in which agriculture was practised, the warriors who were rewarded 
in this way did not permanently attach themselves to the king, and 
thus formed a continual danger to the kingship. The king was con- 
tinually forced to new conquests and then obliged to give them up 
again voluntarily, so that even the mightiest rulers made little lasting 
Impression on the State, especially when the possibilities of donations 

Causes of its Fall 221 

diminished as the Lombard element drew nearer to the Roman. On 
the other hand, the assimilation with the inhabitants of Italy in race 
and culture had been rapidly carried out just on account of the smallness 
of the conquering tribe and the necessary adaptations resulting ; and it 
was not the cultural and racial difference, but rather a difference of 
organisation, resulting from the land’s history and settlement, which 
separated the three parts of Italy—the kingdom, the ecclesiastical State 
and Benevento—through more than a thousand years. 





Wuen in the year 534 Justinian organised the imperial administration 
in Africa, and after the year 540 in Italy, it was not so much his intention 
to create a new civil code as to restore in the main the conditions which had 
existed before the break in the Roman rule. In Africa this break had been 
complete owing to the constitution of the Vandal kingdom. In Italy the 
Roman civil administration had remained unaltered, even at the time 
when the rule of the Gothic king had superseded the direct imperial 
government, and therefore, after the expulsion of the Gothic army 
quartered on the land, only the military administration had to be created 
completely anew. Maintenance of the continuity, which from an im- 
perial point of view had legally never been broken, and equal rights with 
those provinces which had never bowed to the yoke of the barbarians, 
are therefore the natural principles upon which Justinian founded his 
reorganisation of the West. It was, however, impossible in practice to 
ignore altogether the development of the last century. Africa and Italy 
had for so many years lived in political independence of each other, that 
it was no longer possible to look upon them as a united whole; in 
consequence of this, their administration remained entirely separate, as 
before. Whereas the dioecesis of Africa had been under the rule of the 
praefectus praetorio per Italias, until its occupation by the Vandals, it 
now received its own praefectus praetorio, who took the place of the 
former, henceforth superfluous vicarius Africae, so that the praefectus 
Italiae was limited to Italy. Sardinia and Corsica, however, which had 
been in the possession of the Vandals and were now won back by 
Justinian together with the Vandal kingdom, remained united with 
Africa. It was further of decisive importance for Italy that it was no 
longer, as before the so-called fall of the West-Roman Empire, ruled by 
two emperors with a local division of power, but by one only, and that he 
resided in the East. For the consequence was, that the court offices and 
central offices proper, such as the magister officiorum, the quaestor, the 
comites sacrarum largitionum, rerum privatarum and patrimonii, which 
as the highest administrative offices in Italy had been maintained within 

Foundation of Imperial Administration 223 

the Gothic kingdom parallel with the court offices and central offices 
at Constantinople, now disappeared in Italy and were amalgamated with 
the central offices at Constantinople. The same applies to the Senate, 
which likewise was not a local but an imperial governing body. There was 
no need to dissolve it ; it disappeared from Rome in the natural course of 
events, for the officials, of whom it was composed at that time, henceforth 
only existed at Constantinople, the residence of the single emperor. 

The principle underlying the bureaucratic administration by which 
the Empire had been governed since Diocletian, and the details of which 
had only been developed during the centuries following his reign, remained 
unchanged : all autonomy was supplanted by a body of imperial func- 
tionaries grouped hierarchically, according to their local and practical 
powers, subject only to the absolute will of the Emperor and appointed 
by him, chosen from the ranks of the landowners, the only persons 
who had the right to migrate from their place of origin. They had at 
their disposal as an auxiliary force a body of officials (officitum), arranged 
likewise hierarchically, but drawn from another class of the people. 
Opposed, however, to the ruling class, which carried out the will of the 
State by means of the bureaucratic organisation, stood, as the working 
members of the State, all the rest of the population, tied hereditarily 
to their class and its organisation, which as far as it existed had only 
the one object of making its members jointly responsible for the expenses 
of the State. The principle also of separating the civil from the military 
power, which had first been completely carried into force by Constantine 
the Great, though sometimes abandoned by Justinian in the East, was 
intended by the Emperor to come into full force in the West, as soon as 
an end had been put to the state of war}. 

While the details of the Italian administration have to be gathered 
partly from the so-called Pragmatica sanctio pro petitione Vigilii, and 
partly from the remaining sources, chiefly the letters of Pope Gregory, 
which unfortunately nowhere present a complete picture, the Codex 
Justinianus (1. 27) contains the statutes of the organisation for the civil 
and military adjustment within the African dioecesis, issued by Justinian 
in the year 534. These statutes provided that the pracfectus practorio 
Africae, who as a functionary of the highest class and receiving a salary 
of 100 pounds gold (about £4500), stood at the head of the civil ad- 
ministration, should have (besides his private cabinet, the constliarit and 
cancellarit, the grammatict and medict) an official staff of 396 persons, 
divided into ten scrinia and nine scholae. Four of the former, who were 
also the best paid, were entrusted with the financial administration, and 
one with the exchequer. Beside these there were the scriniwn of the 
primiscrinius or subadiwoa, and one each of the commentariensis and of 
the ab actis, who conducted the business of the chancery and the 

1 To avoid repetition a knowledge of the administration of the Roman Empire is 
here assumed. It has been described in Vol. 1. Ch. 1. 

cH, vu. (A) 

224 Administrative Division 

archives, and lastly the scriniwm operum for the Public Works and the 
scrinium libellorum for the Jurisdiction. The cohortales, probably 
assistant clerks, were divided into the scholae of eaceptores, singulari, 
mittendarii, cursores, nomenculatores, stratores, praecones, draconarit and 
chartulartt. The sum total of the salaries paid to the staff amounted 
to 6575 gold solidi (a little over £4000), which had to be raised, like 
the praefect’s salary, by the dioecesis. Subordinate to the praefect were 
seven governors, three of whom had the rank of a conswaris and four 
that of a praeses. It seems that the former—the text is not quite clear 
—were the governors of the old provincia proconsularis (Zeugitana, 
Carthage), of Byzacena and of Tripolis, whilst the latter, who were of 
inferior rank, appear to have governed Sardinia, Numidia and the two 
Mauretanias (Sitifensis and Caesariensis); a staff of 50 clerks was 
attached to each of them. 

For the protection of the dioecesis, after peace had eventually been so 
completely restored that the conquering army and the moveable field- 
army of the comitatenses could be withdrawn, a frontier-army was to be 
newly enrolled, garrisoned and settled, and to be entrusted to the military 
commanders of the separate frontier-provinces (limites). These were 
under the duces of 'Tripolitana (in Leptis Magna), of Byzacena (in 
Capsa or Thelepte, the command of which was afterwards shared with a 
second dux at Hadrumetum), of Numidia (in Constantina), of Mauretania 
(in Caesarea), and of Sardinia. Whilst these duces were to take up a 
temporary residence in the capitals until the reoccupation of the old 
frontiers should be complete, a few of the larger forts along the frontier 
were given into the charge of tribunes. One of these, who was subor- 
dinate to the dua of Mauretania, was also stationed at Septum to watch 
the Straits of Gibraltar and to command the battleships there. Each 
of these duces had, besides an assessor, a staff of 40 clerks with a 
number of gentlemen-at-arms, the latter of whom he paid out of his own 
sufficiently high stipend, handed over to him by the praefect. The 
duces, virt spectabiles, i.e. officials of the second class, were subordinate 
in military rank to the commanding magister militum of the moment. 
It is true that this arrangement was quite provisional, for the limites were 
not to be definitely adjusted till the old frontiers had been won back by 
the Roman arms. ; 

In Italy Justinian’s division of provinces can hardly have differed 
essentially from the old Roman one, which had been accepted by the 
Ostrogoths. The jurisdiction of the praefect was curtailed not only by 
the separation of Sardinia and Corsica and by the loss of the two 
Rhaetias on the northern frontier, but furthermore by the enactment 
of Justinian, which put Sicily under a special praetor of the second 
class, from whom an appeal passed directly to the guaestor of the court 
at Constantinople. It is doubtful whether the intermediate court of the 
two vicar (Italiae and urbis Romae) was maintained under the praefect. 

Defence of the Positions 225 

With regard to the provincial governors the Pragmatica sanctio ordains 
that they should be chosen from the inhabitants by the bishops and most 
distinguished men in each province, but must obtain the sanction of the 
praefect—a very peculiar regulation, which does not agree with the 
general bureaucratic principles of the Byzantine administration, and 
which seems to prove that as early as the middle of the sixth century 
the position of the provincial governors, like that of the town councils in 
Italy, was brought very low and considered more of an onus than an 
honor. Not long afterwards this regulation was extended to the whole 
Empire. The special position of the municipal officials of Rome under 
the praefectus urbi together with other privileges of the old imperial capital 
was maintained, though from the outset this administrative department 
hardly fitted any better here than elsewhere into the frame of the general 
administration, and had to be relieved of a number of its former duties. 
The defence of the frontiers, temporarily established by Belisarius in 
Africa, was organised in Italy by Narses, who had restored the natural 
frontiers of Italy in the north to nearly the dimensions which had 
been recognised by the Lombards in Gothic times after the cession of 
Noricum and Pannonia to them. It is probable that the location 
of the frontier troops was also influenced by the distribution of the 
garrisons during the Gothic rule. In the east, Forum Julii (Friuli) 
was the centre of a chain of small fortresses on the southern slope of the 
Alps, which were connected with the fort of Aguntum (Innichen) by the 
pass over the Kreuzberg. From this point the valley of the Rienz 
probably became the frontier. The bishopric of Seben (Brixen) also 
belonged to the Empire, and further south a chain of forts from Verruca 
(near Trent) as far as Anagni (Nano) can be traced. Further west, 
the Alpine passes were secured by forts at their southern end; thus 
mention is made of one situated on an island in the Lake of Como, and 
of another at the outlet of the pass over Mont Cenis at Susa. It is not 
clear in what manner these limites, which had replaced the old ducatus 
Rhaetiarum and the tractus Italiae circa Alpes of the Notitia Dignitatum, 
were separated from each other. It appears, however, that some of the 
troops which had come to Italy under Narses were garrisoned and settled 
in them, and that certain generals who had served under Narses were 
placed at the head of these ducatus. 'This would be the easiest explana- 
tion for the fact that at a very early date the command over the 
garrisoned legions in Italy was not held by ordinary duces, but by men 
holding the higher rank of magister militum. | 
Justinian’s dispositions had all been made on the assumption that 
peace would be completely restored throughout the two new sections of 
the Empire. During the wars of conquest, the Emperor's authorised 
generals were, in Africa Belisarius, who was magister militum per 
orientem, and in Italy latterly Narses, who, as patricins and holder 
of high court offices, belonged to the highest rank. ‘These had acted 

C. MED. H. VOL. 1. CH. viii. (A) 15 

226 The Exarch 

without restriction, both in their military and in their civil capacity, 
subject only to the instructions they received from the Emperor. 
Procopius calls each alike attoxpatwp tod rohépov. 

Circumstances, however, allowed neither country any lasting peace ; 
martial law continued as a consequence of the state of war, and neither 
Africa nor Italy could safely be left without an active army. It became 
necessary to create and to uphold a supreme authority, to which the civil 
administration had to be subordinated for military purposes. In Africa 
a passing attempt was made by Justinian to equip the praefectus 
praetorio with the power of a magister militum, but this was an 
exceptional case. In Africa, as also in Italy, when the Lombards 
invaded it after the recall of Narses, the rule was to appoint extra- 
ordinary military commanders, who held a high rank and were superior 
to the praefectus. But when the state of war proved to be chronic, the 
extraordinary office developed into a regular one. In the year 584 an 
exarch is mentioned in Italy for the first time, and here as in Africa the 
title exarch is henceforth commonly applied to the head of the military 
and civil administration. In this combination of military and civil 
functions the exarch reminds us of certain exalted provincial governors, 
whom Justinian, deviating from the general principles of the Roman 
administration, had already installed in the East. But the exarch is far 
more than these. Holding, as he does, the highest office in his division 
of the Empire, he not only belongs to the highest class with the title 
eacellentissimus, but he owns also the full title of patricius, a distinction 
not usually shared by the praefect. If the patrician holds a court 
office it is usual, in official language, to substitute this for the title 
patricius, as for instance cubicularius et exarchus, or occasionally patricius 
et exarchus. In ordinary life, when speaking of the exarch in Italy and 
Africa, only the title patricius was used. 

The power of the exarch was practically unlimited. Like the Gothic 
kings, he was the emperor’s representative ; and as such, like his pre- 
decessors, ¢.¢. Belisarius and Narses, he held absolute command over 
the active troops temporarily stationed in that part of the Empire, as 
well as over the frontier legions. At the same time he took a hand, 
whenever it pleased him, in the civil administration, decided ecclesiastical 
matters, negotiated with foreign countries and concluded armistices. 
His power was only limited in time, inasmuch as he might at any 
moment be recalled by the emperor, and in extent inasmuch as his 
mandate applied only to a definite part of the Empire. He could there- 
fore issue decrees, but could neither make laws nor conclude a peace 
valid for the whole of the Empire. The command of the exarch of Italy 
extended beyond Italy to the rest of the old dioecesis of West Illyricum, 
and to Dalmatia, which also, since Odovacar’s time, had been added to 
the Italian kingdom. ‘The military system of Sicily, on the other hand, 
was allowed, at least in later years, to develop independently. 

The Miltarising of the Administration 227 

It followed naturally that the exarch, who resided at Ravenna, had 
at his court, besides an officiwm befitting his rank, a number of advisers 
and assistants for the miscellaneous branches of his activity. We will 
only mention here the consiliarius, the cancellarius, the maior domus, the 
scholastict versed in jurisprudence, and in Africa a éroorpatnyos with the 
rank of patricius, a representative of the emperor's representative. He 
was further, like all generals of that time, surrounded by a number 
of private soldiers, gentlemen-at-arms who held a more distinguished 
position than soldiers of the regular army. The court of these vice- 
emperors was in every aspect a copy of the imperial court, and their 
powerful position makes it conceivable that, when in the middle of the 
seventh century the centre of the Empire was in distress, the attempt was 
repeatedly made both from Africa and Italy to replace the emperor by 
an exarch. It was in this manner that the dynasty of Heraclius attained 
to the throne. 

The consequences of the uninterrupted state of war, caused in Africa 
by the Berbers and later by the Muslims, and in Italy by the Lombards, 
of course affected, not only the head of the general administration, but 
also its organisation and its efficacy. Tripolitana was detached from 
Africa, probably under the Emperor Maurice, and added to Egypt. 
Mauretania Sitifensis and the few stations of the Caesariensis which the 
Empire was able to uphold, were joined together into one province, 
Mauretania Prima, whilst distant Septum, with the remains of the 
Byzantine possessions in Spain, became the province Mauretania Secunda. 
Of still greater importance is the fact that Justinian’s plan of restoring 
the frontiers of the Empire to the extent they had before the Vandal 
occupation, was never carried out. It even became necessary in several 
provinces to move back again the line of defence already reached, so that 
the duces did not hold command in the border-lands of their own 
provinces, but were stationed with their garrisoned legions in the interior. 
This makes it impossible to define the sphere of local power between the 
dux and the tribuni on the one hand, and the praeses on the other. The 
provinces themselves became as it were limites. Just as the praefect 
continued to exist under the exarch, so there existed, at least in the 
beginning of the seventh century and perhaps even up to the definite loss 
of Africa, side by side with the duces, a number of civil praesides, not to 
speak of the various revenue officers who were employed for the taxation. 
Naturally the duces and the trzbwni who were appointed by the exarch 
proved the stronger, and continually extended their powers at the expense 
of the civil officials. 'The development, which must have led to the com- 
olete suppression of the civil administration, hardly reached its final stage 
n Africa, because it was forcibly cut short by the Mahometan occupa- 
ion. It went further in Italy. The Lombards in their onslaught had 
oroken up the whole of the Italian administration in the course of 
ibout ten years; attempts to re-establish it failed, and when about the 

cH. vu. (A) 52 

228 New Administrative Division 

beginning of the seventh century the Empire had accepted the inevitable, 
it made no further attempt to gain the remote border-lands, but saw its 
task in trying to secure what remained of the Roman possessions. It 
had been customary so far for the various army corps, of which some 
were recruited from the East, to fight in different parts of Italy, led by 
their magistri militum under the superior command of the exarch. 
The primus exercitus was stationed at Ravenna at the immediate disposal 
of the commander-in-chief. But gradually, and especially when by the 
repeated truces a certain state of equilibrium had been attained, there 
were no more reinforcements from the East, except perhaps the regiment 
of guards for the exarch, and the legions in Italy were stationed at those 
points which seemed most important for the defence. In the interior of 
Italy also ducatus sprang up in all directions with duces or magistri 
militum at their head ; everywhere forts were erected and put under the 
command of a tribune. 

By the conquests of Rothari, who seized Liguria, and of Grimoald in 
the seventh century, as also by those of Liutprand and Aistulf in the 
eighth century, the frontiers were still further displaced, but as early as 
the first half of the seventh century the following ducatus can be dis- 
tinguished : Istria and Venetia, both confined to the coast-land and the 
islands; the exarchate proper (in the narrower sense), the provincia 
Ravennatium, the borders of which lay between Bologna and Modena 
in the west, along the Po in the north, and from which the ducatus of 
Ferrara was detached in the eighth century; the Pentapolis, 7.e. the 
remains of Picenum, with its duwx residing at Ariminum; the ducatus of 
Perusia, which with its numerous and strong forts covered the most 
important passes of the Apennines and the Via Flaminia, the only 
connexion between the remains of the Byzantine possessions in the 
north, and in particular Ravenna, with Rome ; Tuscia to the north of the 
lower course of the Tiber; Rome and her immediate surroundings, with 
the forts in partibus Campaniae to the south, as far as the valley of 
the Liris; the ducatus of Naples, 7.e. the coast-towns from Cumae to 
Amalfi with a part of Liburia (Terra di Lavoro); the ducatus of 
Calabria, consisting of the remains of Apulia and Calabria, Lucania 
and Bruttium. ‘This division supplanted the old division into provinces, 
and, when about the middle of the seventh century not only the 
praefect of Italy, but also the provincial praesides disappeared com- 
pletely, the names of the old provinces continued to be used in ordinary 
conversation only to define certain parts of Italy. The functions of the 
duces and praesides were completely absorbed by the magistri militum 
in the same way as those of the praefectus praetorio were absorbed by 
the exarch. The whole administration had been militarised, and the 
same status established which in the East under similar conditions appears 
as the “theme” system. 

The civil administration of the State, however, was not only threatened 

The Church and the Public Administration 229 

by the military organisations, but also by another factor, the Church, 
which prepared to occupy the gaps left by the activity of the State, and 
to enter upon a part of its heritage. Through means of influence peculiar 
to herself and not accessible to the State, the Church had in Italy a very 
special position through her extensive landed property, as also by right 
of privileges which former emperors, in particular Justinian, had accorded 
to her. The legal privileges of the Church went so far, that popes of the 
sixth century already claimed for the clergy the right to be judged by 
ecclesiastics only, and its landed property was protected by special laws. 
The influence of the Church in all matters could only be controlled by 
the actual power and authority of the State, for the claim of the pope 
and of the ecclesiastical hierarchy to be the representatives of the 
ctvitas Dei, and as such superior to worldly authorities, permitted 
a growth of power to an unlimited extent. 

The material foundation for this power was supplied by the immense 
wealth, of the Roman Church especially, which designated its posses- 
sions by preference as patrimoniwm pauperum. The starting-point for 
its activity was indeed the care of the poor, a field which had been 
entirely neglected by the State, but gained importance in proportion 
to the increasing distress of the times and the insufficiency of the public 
administration. The State itself, in fact, not only allowed the bishops 
an important voice in the election of the provincial governors, but it 
granted them a certain right of control over all officials, in so far as 
they were permitted to attend to the complaints of the oppressed 
population, and to convey them to the magistrates in authority or even 
to the emperor himself. Time after time there was intervention, mostly 
by the popes, and no part of the administration was free from their 

The predominance of the ecclesiastical influence over the secular in 
the civil administration shews itself very clearly in the department of 
municipal government, for the cwriales, the remainders of the old ons, 
having lost their autonomy and become mere bearers of burdens, were 
already doomed. In Lilybaeum, for instance, the wealthy citizens, 
manifestly the curiales, had made an agreement with the bishop in 
accordance with which the bishop took over certain of their burdens, 
and in return a number of estates were transferred to the Church. At 
Naples the bishop tried to get possession of the aqueducts and the city 
gates. Above all, at Rome the pope extended the range of his power 
in his own interest and in the interest of the population, who could no 
longer depend upon the regular working of the public administration. 
The Pragmatica sanctio had guaranteed the maintenance by the State 
of the public buildings at Rome; nevertheless, in the seventh century 
the care of the aqueducts as well as the preservation of the city walls 
passed over to the papal administration. By this time no more mention 
is made of the praefectura urbis, and when after almost two centuries it 

cu. vi. (A) 

230 Militarising of Landed Property 

appears again in our sources, it has become a pontifical office. The old 
public distribution of provisions was replaced by the beneficial institutions 
of the Roman Church, by her diaconates, shelters, hospitals and her 
magnificent charity organisation, through which money and provisions 
were dealt out regularly to a large part of the population. ‘The vast 
granaries of the Roman Church received the corn brought from all the 
patrimonies, especially from Sicily, for the purpose of feeding a population 
whose regular sources of income were totally insufficient for their support. 
The recognised superiority of the papal administration is also illustrated 
by the fact that the State further felt induced to hand over to the 
granaries of the Church the revenue paid in kind by Sicily, Sardinia and 
Corsica and set aside for the provisioning of Rome and its garrison, so 
that the pope appears in many respects as the emperor’s paymaster 
(dispensator). But the pope becomes also the emperor's banker when 
the funds for the payment of the army are made over to him, so that— 
for a time at least—the soldiers are paid through his offices. Thus the 
organs of state administration were one by one rendered superfluous by 
the development of a well-organised papal central government, whilst 
the managers of the pontifical estates in the different provinces, the 
rectores patrimonii, who were entrusted with the representation of the 
pope in all secular matters, had an ever-increasing number of duties 
heaped upon them. 

In proportion as the reinforcements of soldiers from Byzantium failed, 
Italy had to depend more upon her own resources, ?.e. upon the soldiers 
who had been settled in Italy at the time when the inner boundaries were 
established—evidently in imitation of the old limitanei—and upon the 
native population, which latter being compelled to take its share in the 
watch-service (murorum vigiliae) and obliged to provide for their own 
up-keep, could soon no longer be distinguished from the former. For 
example, the castrum Squillace was erected on land belonging to the 
monastery of the same name, and for the allotments conceded to them the 
soldiers had to pay a ground-rent (solaticum) to the monastery. The 
castrum Callipolis had been built within the precincts of a manor owned by 
the Roman Church, and the coloni of the Church themselves formed its 
garrison. All those who were obliged to do military service in a fort 
under the command of the tribune formed the numerus or bandus, and 
being a corporation had the right to acquire landed property. The 
inhabitants of Comacchio, for instance, taken collectively, are called 
milites, and only in the large cities, such as Rome or Ravenna, the 
milites do not embrace the entire population. On the other hand we 
often find the inhabitants of a fort dependent upon a landlord. But 
though the power of a tribune and that of a landlord were originally 
derived from entirely different sources, they were naturally brought 
nearer to each other in the course of their development, for while it 
became more common for the tribunes to acquire landed property, the 

Liffect of the Italian Revolution 231 

landowners grew more military. For the tribune did not only hold the 
command of a fort, the power of raising part of the taxes, and the 
Jurisdiction over the population within the whole district of the fort, 
but in addition to this the landed property of the State or of the 
corporation fell to his share. Thus, the more the armed power assumed 
the character of a militia, the more important it became that the 
tribunes, who probably continued to pay their nomination-tax or 
suffragium to the exarch, should be chosen from the landlords of the 
district, like the officers holding command under them in the numerus, 
who are occasionally mentioned, such as the domesticus, the vicarius, the 
loct servator, and others. Probably in many cases the nomination by 
the exarch became a mere formality, and certain seigniorial families 
raised a claim to the tribunate. ‘These local powers, the lords of the 
manor, who were qualified for the tribunate, formed the actual land- 
owning military aristocracy, who, by uniting in themselves all the 
administrative offices of the first order, virtually ruled over Italy, although 
under the supervision of officials appointed by the central government. 
Among these local powers were the various churches, the bishoprics, and 
above all the Roman Church, the estates of which must in many respects 
have been exempt from the government of the tribunes, much the same as 
were the fundi excepti of the preceding time, so that they existed by the 
side of the secular tribunes, but not in subjection to them. When in the 
beginning of the eighth century the militia in the town of Ravenna was 
reorganised, a special division was provided for the Church besides the 
eleven other bandit. About the same time we see the rector of the 
patrimonium of Campania leading the soldiers of the Church in a 

The conclusion and spread of this development of local powers formed 
the social change which led to the great Italian revolt in the first third 
of the eighth century. The state of anarchy in the centre of the Empire 
and the dangers by which Constantinople itself was threatened through 
the advance of Islam, had been a powerful help to the Italian struggle 
for independence. Different parts of Italy had at various times wit- 
nessed risings of the local powers, till the separate discontented forces 
united in a great opposition movement under the leadership of the 
pope. This took place when Gregory II boldly withheld the increased 
tax which Leo the Isaurian, the great organiser of the Byzantine 
Empire, attempted to raise for the benefit of the central government ; 
and when, in addition to this, the edict against the worship of images and 
the outbreak of Iconoclasm incited religious passions against the imperial 
reformer. 'The first act of the rebels was to expel the exarch and the 
duces, the representatives of the central government, and to replace 
them by confidential friends of the local powers. At Rome the pope, 
and at Venice an elected du (doge) took the place of the former authorities. 
The dicio, as it was then called, was by this revolt transferred from the 

cH. vill. (4) 

232 Changes in the Administrative Division 

emperor to the local authorities, though they remained in formal 
adherence to the Empire. This, at least, was the pope’s wish, and no 
emperor set up by the opposition in Italy was generally recognised, 
The suppression of the revolt resulted in the resumption of the dicio by 
the emperor, and during the next generation Italy was again ruled by 
his deputies and appointed duces. The fact, however, that in consequence 
of the Italian revolt the local powers had for a number of years been 
practically independent, could not be undone. Henceforth it was 
impossible to appoint officials in the place of tribunes. In the local 
organisation the landed proprietors had gained a complete victory over 
the bureaucracy, and in this the hereditary principle had prevailed. But 
the bureaucratic superstructure, by which the emperor exercised his 
dicio, was entirely out of touch with the seigniorial element at its base, 
and from this resulted—at least as far as North and Central Italy were 
concerned, where the revolution had temporarily taken a firm hold 
—the complete and permanent dissolution of the central power of the 

Not very long after the termination of the Italian revolt there 
appears at Rome as the highest imperial authority the patrictus et dur 
Stephanus. The title of patricius, and various other circumstances, 
indicate that he was no longer subordinate but equal to the exarch of 
Ravenna, and that Central Italy south of the Apennines had been con- 
stituted as an independent province or theme. This division of Byzantine 
Italy, which had long been geographically prepared, was probably due 
as much to strategical reasons, e.g. the advance of the king of the 
Lombards, as to any political necessity. Stephanus, however, seems 
to have been the first and last to bear the new title; after him there 
appears no other permanent representative of the emperor at Rome. 
The exarchate proper, comprising the Byzantine possessions north of the 
Apennines from which the ducatus of Rome had been detached, was 
ruled by the exarch, who resided at Ravenna until King Aistulf took 
possession of that town (750-751), when only Venice and a part of 
Istria of the lands north of the Apennines remained under Byzantine 
rule. All that was left to the Byzantines in the two southernmost 
peninsulas of Italy was, at a date which cannot be exactly determined, 
united into a ducatus which received the name of Calabria, and retained 
this name even when the Byzantines had completely evacuated the 
south-eastern peninsula which had formerly borne this name, and were 
confined to their forts of the former Bruttium in the south-west. This 
ducatus, which was not linked geographically to the rest of Byzantine 
Italy, was placed under the command of the patricius of Sicily, so that it 
was separated from Italy in its administration. In the same way the 
churches of southern Italy were, in consequence of the Italian revolt, 
detached from Rome and subordinated to the Greek patriarchate at 
Constantinople. Thus in the second quarter of the eighth century there 

Pontifical State under Byzantine Suzerainty 233 

were in the western part of the Byzantine Empire three themes under 
patrician governors—the Exarchate, Rome, and Sicily (with Calabria), of 
which the latter was for the most part Greek in language and culture, 
whereas the two first were Latin. 

After the disappearance of the patrician governor from Rome, the 
pope took his place and claimed the right to rule directly the city of Rome 
with her surroundings, and also indirectly the ducatus attached to Rome 
in the north and south as supreme lord of the two duces, and to restore 
more or less the situation which had existed during the Italian revolt. 
The papal bureaucracy, which had been developed to a certain extent on 
the model of the Byzantine bureaucracy, took the place of the imperial 
administration. In other words, the pope assumed the dicio over 
Rome and the district belonging to it. Here in times of war and 
peace he reigned like the exarch before him, negotiated and concluded 
truces with the Lombards, recognising however the suzerainty of the 
emperor, whose commands he received through special embassies, and. 
reckoning his dates from the years of the emperor’s reign. At the em- 
peror’s command he went to King Aistulf at Pavia, and thence—probably 
also in accordance with the imperial wishes—crossed the Alps and visited 
the king of the Franks. The concessions of Pepin and Charles the 
Great were called “restitutions,” by which was understood that the old 
boundaries between the Empire and the Lombard kingdom, as they 
had been recognised before Liutprand’s reign, were restored, and the 
sovereignty of the emperor within these boundaries was legally undis- 
puted, This is proved by the fact that down to the year 781 the popes 
reckoned their dates from the years of the emperor’s reign. The 
dispute between the popes and the Frankish kings on the one side and 
the emperors on the other arose from the fact that Pepin gave the 
dicio of the restored domains to the pope, and not to the emperor who 
laid claim to it, so that the pope became the real master in the new 
Pontifical State and no room was left for a representative of the emperor. 
Moreover the pope overstepped the limits which had hitherto bounded 
the sphere of his power, by including in his dicto not only the former 
patrician ducatus of Rome but also the exarchate proper. This gave 
rise to protracted struggles with the archbishop of Ravenna, who as the 
exarch’s successor assumed the dicio north of the Apennines. It was 
probably in the year 781 that the new state of affairs was officially 
recognised and thereby consolidated, by an agreement between Charles 
and Pope Hadrian on the one side, and the Greek ambassador on 
the other. According to this agreement the emperor, or rather the 
empréss-regent Irene, abandoned all claims to the sovereignty over the 
Pontifical State in favour of the pope. 

The emancipation from the dicio of the imperial government of those 
parts of Italy which still remained under Byzantine rule, was carried out 
in a way analogous to that of the Pontifical State, the only difference 

eH, vit. (A) 

234 Venice 

being that here the acquisition of the dicio was effected by the local 
powers themselves and not through the interference of a foreign ruler, 
and that the formal suzerainty of the Empire was maintained for a longer 
time. In Venice, which about the end of the seventh century had been 
detached from Istria as a special ducatus, circumstances were particularly 
favourable to the development of the seigniorial local powers as repre- 
sented by the tribunes, though it is true that after the suppression of the 
Italian revolt it fell back under the imperial dicio, and was again ruled 
by duces or magistri militum nominated by the emperor, not by elected 
chiefs. In the second half of the eighth century, however, after the fall 
of the exarchate, the bonds of subordination relaxed here as elsewhere, 
and the nomination of the Doge became more and more an act of mere 
formality. The Doge was placed in power by that fraction of the tri- 
bunicial aristocracy which was for the moment in the ascendancy; by 
them he was elected and to them he looked for support. He succeeded 
in making his office lifelong, and sought to legalise his position by 
soliciting and receiving a court title, as a form of recognition by the 
emperor at Constantinople. In agreement with the emperor, some Doges 
even tried to make the power hereditary in their families, chiefly we 
may suppose in virtue of their extensive landed property and their 
wealth. Nevertheless, from the time when in his final treaty of peace 
with Byzantium (812) Charles the Great definitely renounced the con- 
quest of Venice, the suzerainty of the Greek emperor was permanently 
recognised. ‘This was shewn by the sending of ceremonial embassies 
whenever a change of sovereign took place at Constantinople, by the 
appeal for recognition of every new Doge, who probably had to buy his 
Byzantine title with a high suffragiwm, and by the fact that the Venetian 
fleet was obliged to lend support to the Byzantines, at least in the West. 
We also hear otherwise of occasional interference on the part of the 
Byzantine emperor, though Venice naturally grew more and more 

In the south, the dua of Naples considered himself the successor of 
the imperial governor of Campania, and a right of control over him was 
in fact claimed by the patricius of Sicily. The actual holder of the dicio, 
however, was the dua, who, while professing adherence to the Greek 
Empire, often acted in political matters with complete independence, 
making his office first lifelong and afterwards hereditary. In the first 
quarter of the ninth century the Byzantine Empire succeeded tem- 
porarily in re-establishing a magister militum as the real functionary, 
but in the course of time here as elsewhere the local powers, and at 
times the bishop, remained victorious, so that the position of Naples 
resembled in every way that of Venice. It is however true that some 
other local seigniories, in particular Amalfi and Gaéta, detached them- 
selves from the ducatus of Naples and, after a gradual secession from 
the supreme rule of the dux of Naples, exercised the dicio independently 

Naples, Amalfi, Gaéta 235 

within their spheres of interest, formally as direct subjects of the Greek 
emperor, and enjoying equal rights with Naples. At the head of these 
minor States were hypatoi or praefecti, who in time also developed 
dynasties. Thus the Byzantine bureaucracy was supplanted every- 
where by local powers who usurped the dicio, and of whom some, for 
instance Venice and the coast towns of southern Italy, acknowledged 
the emperor’s suzerainty, whilst others, like the Pontifical State, refused 
to do so. The victory of the local powers signified at the same time 
the universal establishment of the medieval system of seigniorial rule. 


If the sixth century after Christ was one of the great ages of the 
world’s history, it would not be difficult to claim for Pope Gregory I 
that he was the greatest man in it. The claim would be contested on 
behalf of the Emperor Justinian and the monk Benedict of Nursia, if 
not by many another who influenced the course of affairs; but if the 
work of medieval leaders of men is to be judged by its results on later 
ages, Gregory would seem to occupy a position of commanding greatness 
which is unassailable. 

The facts of his life for the fifty years before he became pope are 
soon told, yet hardly one of them is without significance. He was born 
in Rome, of a family noble by race and pious by hereditary attachment 
to the things of God, probably in the year 540. Justinian was Caesar, 
dwelling at Constantinople, but exercising no slight control over Church 
and State in Italy. Vigilius was pope, and an example of pitiable 
irresolution in things both sacred and profane. Jew could have foreseen 
in 540 that before the life—not a long one—of the child born to the 
ancient family of Roman senators and nobles would have closed in a new 
century, the temporal power of the Papacy would have been securely 
founded and the power of the Empire and the authority of the Emperor 
in Italy threatened with a speedy end. In the onrush of barbarian 
conquest it was not the military success of Justinian’s generals which 
was to be continued under the heirs of his Empire and to secure the 
position which they had won. They had—in the words of the Liber 
Pontificalis—made all Italy rejoice, but it was the patient diplomacy 
of a great pope which would preserve the central independence of 
Christian Rome, between the decaying power of the Byzantines 
and the extending dukedoms of the Lombard invaders. It would 
not be preserved for long, it is true; but so firmly was it founded 

CH. VIII. (B) 

236 Early Life of Gregory [ 540-576 

on the immemorial traditions of the city, and the holy sanctions of 
the ecclesiastical rule, that it was destined to survive and emerge into 
supremacy when the discordant powers which had threatened it had 
passed away. And that this was so was due conspicuously to the 
descendant of Pope Felix IV who first saw the light before the sixth 
century had run half its course. 

Gregory was the son of the regionarius Gordianus, a rich nobleman 
with a fine house on the Caelian hill who held an office of organisation 
connected with the Roman Church. His mother was afterwards ranked 
among the saints, and so were two of his father’s sisters. He was 
brought up in the life of a Christian palace, among the riches of both 
worlds, as a saint, says his biographer John the Deacon, among the 
saints. In his education none of the learning of the time was neglected, 
and it is with the consciousness of a wider knowledge than the stricter 
folk of the day would allow that his biographer calls him arte philo- 
sophus, a student of Divine philosophy, not of the degraded type of 
Greek word-splitting which had lingered on at Athens till Justinian 
closed the schools ten years or so before Gregory was born. He was taught 
grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, after the fashion of the day. He did not 
learn Greek then, or even later, though he lived six years in Constanti- 
nople. For literary elegance he never cared, and he almost boasted of 
the barbarisms of his style. In later life he is found reproaching a 
Frankish bishop for expounding grammar, perhaps even for studying it ; 
but there was more in the reproof than the mere regret for time wasted 
that might be more profitably employed not only by a bishop, but, as 
he says, by a religious layman: it was the sense of alarm with which the 
Christian scholars still regarded a mythology whose morals were by no 
means dispossessed from their influence on men. Of Art, on the other 
hand, he was not ignorant: towards painting as well as music he was 
sympathetic throughout his life. What special training he received 
was, there seems no doubt, in law. When boyhood was over, he 
emerges into light as praefect of the City of Rome (573), holding what 
was at least theoretically the highest office among the citizens, one of 
great labour and dignified ostentation, and, even in the decay of the 
city’s independence, of serious responsibility. That his tenure of office 
was distinguished by any special achievement we do not know; but his 
leaving it was dramatic and significant. His father was dead: his 
mother had gone into a nunnery: he was one of the richest men, as he 
was the highest official, in Rome. But the religious training of his early 
years had never ceased to dominate his life. Now, at the very time 
when political leaders were most needed, and when he was in a position 
to win the foremost place among them, he laid aside ambition, put off 
his silk and his jewels, gave his father’s property for the founding of six 
monasteries in Sicily and in charity for the Roman poor, and turned the 
great palace on the Caelian hill into a house of monks, entering it 

c. 580-590] Plans of Mission to the English 237 

himself as a brother among the rest. For three years he lived in 
seclusion the religious life, according to the rule, there can be little 
doubt, of St Benedict, which he often afterwards so warmly eulogised. 
The chief of the Roman citizens had become a humble monk among 
monks: it was a contrast typical of the life, set betwixt civilisation and 
Christianity, barbarism and ascetic devotion, of the early Middle Age. 
In the monastery of St Andrew the second part of Gregory’s training 
was accomplished. For three years he was learning all that monasticism 
could teach him. And first it taught him a keen interest in the 
evangelisation of the heathen. It was probably at this date (though 
the evidence is uncertain), when he was one of the most famous 
personages in Rome, the chief civil ruler of the city who had given up 
all for the religious life, that his attention was first directed towards the 
distant isle of Britain. There is no reason to doubt the familiar story 
told so picturesquely by Bede, a narratio fidelium as the earlier Monk 
of Whitby calls it, that he was walking in the forum when he saw some 
Anglian lads, probably exposed for sale. He had heard of their coming 
and desired to see the denizens of a country concerning which Procopius 
had told the strange tale that thither Gaulish boatmen ferried the 
souls of the dead by night. Beautiful boys these were, with light 
complexion and light hair. ‘ Alas,” he said, when he was told they were 
heathens, “that lads so bright should be the slaves of darkness.” He 
asked what was the name of their race. ‘‘ Angii,” they told him, and he 
answered that they had angel faces and should be coheirs of the angeli 
in heaven. They came from Deira: so should they be saved de ira Dei. 
Their king was Aelle: Alleluia should be sung in his land. From that 
moment Gregory planned to evangelise the English. He obtained the 
leave of the Pope, Benedict I; but the punning habit which seemed to have 
given him the first thought of his mission now intervened to check him 
in its course. He sat reading, during the rest time on the third day of 
his journey, and a locust settled on his book, and locusta seemed to mean 
loco sta: he should not proceed. So it proved, for messengers from the 
Pope hurried to command his return, for the people of Rome would not 
suffer the departure of one whose services to them had been so recent and 
whose conspicuous self-abnegation seemed to shed a glory on the city of 
St Peter. The call of the Angles was set aside, but it was not forgotten. 
Gregory was given to learning, to asceticism, and to active assistance to 
the papal court. . 
The learning of his school-days was now continued on more exclusively 
ecclesiastical lines. In earlier years he had loved to read Augustine and 
Jerome. He became a deep student of the Bible. Later years, when 
he can have had little time for close study, shewed that he had become 
acquainted with the text of the Scriptures in detail more exact than was 
at all common in his day. What he read he pondered on, and he 
became a master of that “divine art” of Meditation which was to be so 

cH. VIII. (B) 

238 Gregory as Apocrisiarius [577-590 

exhaustively developed in the Medieval Church. And to meditation he 
added vigil and fast till his health was injured for the rest of his life. 
But the time, as he looked back to it again and again from the troubled 
world, seemed like a happy shore as seen by the storm-tossed mariner on 
the waves of a mighty sea. On the sea of public life indeed he was soon 
about to embark again. 

First he was made one of the Seven Deacons who shared with the 
Pope the governance of Rome, in charge of the seven regions of the city. 
For such a post few could have been so well fitted as he who had played 
so conspicuous a part in municipal life. This may have been in 578. In 
that year Benedict I died; while the city was in throes of plague and flood, 
and the Lombards were on the point of attack. Pelagius II, the new pope, 
determined to send to Constantinople, as his resident at the Emperor’s 
court, one who knew so completely the needs and the dangers of old 
Rome. In the spring of 579 Gregory left Italy as the apocristarius of the 
Pope. ‘The six years, or more, during which he resided in the imperial 
city supplied perhaps the last and most important of the formative 
influences of his life. Tiberius II was emperor (578-582), Eutychius 
was patriarch (577-582). The papal envoy was theologian as well as 
statesman, and he controverted a theory of the latter that the resurrec- 
tion-body would be impalpable, convincing at least the former so that 
he put the erroneous treatise in the fire. But while he did not neglect 
theology, for he also wrote while he was at Constantinople his famous 
Moralia, a commentary on the Book of Job, a very Corpus of Divinity 
in itself, containing also many wise saws and modern instances, he was more 
continuously and actively employed in studying the magnificent system 
of imperial government. In a city notorious for the luxury of the 
nobles and the political independence of the people, where public 
interest was divided between the controversies of theologians and the 
games of the hippodrome, he saw how the turbulent life of a fickle and 
arrogant population was guided, not always wisely, by ecclesiastics, and 
restrained with extraordinary and imperceptible tact by an army of 
officials who, when dynasties changed and the throne tottered, preserved 
the fabric of the imperial constitution through all hazards and gave 
for centuries the most marvellous example of constitutional organisation 
amid the confused revolutions of Medieval Europe. As a theologian 
Gregory made it his business to see and talk with heretics that he might 
win them to truth, contrary to the example of those among whom he 
lived, some of whom were “fired by mistaken zeal and imagine they are 
fighting heretics while indeed they are making heresies.” As for his own 
theological controversies, if he entered upon them charitably he certainly 
took them seriously : John the Deacon tells that at the end of his dispute 
with the patriarch Eutychius he took to his bed from exhaustion. In 
582 Eutychius was succeeded by a famous ascetic, John “the Faster,” 
a Cappadocian. With him Gregory had no dispute till later days: but 

585—590 | Constantinople and Rome 239 

the first letter between them that is preserved, written in 590, reads as 
though their cordiality had never been great. 

In the imperial court the papal envoy made many friends: and when 
Tiberius had chosen Maurice for his successor Gregory had still closer 
relations with those of Caesar’s household. Theoctista, the new Emperor's 
sister, and Narses, one of his generals, are found later among those to 
whom he wrote. He was intimate too with other foreign ecclesiastics, 
visitors like himself at the centre of imperial power, notably with 
Leander of Seville, afterwards the victorious champion of Catholicism 
against the Arian Visigoths. Leander and Gregory became close 
friends: it was Leander who induced Gregory to write his Moralia, 
and he received its dedication. In later years no congratulations on 
Leander’s success were so warm as those of his old companion ; though 
the Spanish prelate was absent in body yet, said Gregory, he was felt to 
be ever present in the spirit his image impressed upon the heart of his 
friend. Anastasius, once patriarch of Antioch, also lived in Constanti- 
nople, with memories of the theological storm which clouded the last 
days of Justinian, and he was said to have refuted the Aphthartodocetic 
opinions which that Emperor probably never held and the edict in 
favour of them which he certainly never issued. With him also Gregory 
was on cordial terms. 

But from the imperial Court itself the papal apocrisiarius could find 
no support for the cause which he came to advocate. The Lombards 
had northern Italy at their feet, Pelagius wrote piteously begging for 
succour. But Maurice looked eastwards rather than towards the West, 
and as Caesar would not, or could not, help the Pope. When Gregory 
returned to Rome in 585 he had accomplished nothing. But he had 
acquired a knowledge of foreign politics, of the routine of imperial 
administration, and of the great personages of his time, which was 
invaluable to him. 

For five years Gregory remained at Rome as head of his own 
monastery, and he made it a school of saints, and a home of Biblical 
study. He himself wrote commentaries on several of the Scriptures, and 
completed his lectures on the Book of Job which (like the Magna Moralia) 
became almost a popular classic in the Middle Age and proved a store- 
house from which very much of later theology was extracted. ‘To him 
also was entrusted by Pope Pelagius the conclusion of the unhappy 
controversy of Justinian’s day on the Three Chapters; and he set before 
the bishops of Istria the orthodox creed as Rome and Constantinople 
had accepted it in a treatise of lucid and masterful reasoning. In 590 
Pelagius died and the Roman people insisted that he who had once been 
their highest official and was now the most eminent of their monks 
should become their bishop. If he was reluctant to accept it, he yet in 
the interval before the imperial assent could be obtained shewed himself 
to be the religious leader that the city needed in its.distress. 

OH. VIII. (B) 

240 Gregory Pope [590 

Rome was swept by the plague: Gregory had himself done his 
utmost to abate it by sanitary measures: Pelagius himself had been its 
victim. Now the abbot of St Andrew’s organised a demonstration of 
public penitence, and preached a famous sermon which another Gregory, 
himself a hearer, and afterwards the great bishop of Tours, statesman 
and historian, recorded from his lips. As the penitential procession, 
moving in seven bodies and singing litanies, passed through the streets, 
death was still busy: in one hour, as the solemn march went on, eighty 
men fell dead: but at last, said a legend of later days, the Archangel 
Michael was seen to stand on the cupola of the Mausoleum of Hadrian 
and to sheathe his flaming sword. So the plague was stayed : and the 
Castle of Sant? Angelo, with all its long history of romance and crime, 
bears witness to the memory. 

Six months after the death of Pelagius, in August 590, came the 
sanction of Maurice the Emperor to the choice that had been made of 
his successor. Gregory, still a deacon, prepared for flight, but he was 
discovered, taken to St Peter’s and consecrated a successor of the Apostle 
as bishop of Rome. It was on 3 September 590. 

It was a ship rotten in every plank and leaking at every seam that he 
came to captain: so he wrote to his brother of Constantinople. With 
a real regret did he abandon the Rachel of contemplation for the Leah 
of active life. Yet if any ecclesiastic was ever fitted for rule, for 
statesmanship, for practical labour among men, it was Gregory the 

If Gregory’s most obvious achievements, in the sight of his own time, 
lay in the region of politics, it must be remembered always that he 
himself viewed his whole work from the standing-point of a Christian 
bishop. He sets this before every reader in his Regulae Pastoralis 
Liber, a book which, probably addressed to John of Ravenna, his 
“brother and fellow-bishop,” was welcomed by all who knew him, both 
clerk and lay, by the Emperor Maurice, who had a Greek translation 
made of it, as well as by Leander of Seville; and, later on, to read it 
became part of the necessary erudition of a bishop. Throughout the 
book there is a sense of tremendous responsibility. The conduct of 
a prelate, says Gregory, ought to surpass the conduct of the people as 
a shepherd’s life does that of his flock. In his elevation he should deal 
with high things, and high persons, yet should he not seek to please 
men, being mindful of the duty of reproof and yet reproving with 
gentleness. The mind anxious about the management of exterior 
business is deprived of the sense of wholesome fear; and the soul is 
flattered with a false promise of good works: there is danger in refusal 
as well as in acceptance of high places; but most danger lest while 
earthly pursuits engross the senses of the pastor the dust that is driven 
by the wind of temptation blind the eyes of the whole Church. The 
entire treatise shews an intimacy of practical knowledge in regard to 

590 | Gregory's Letters 241 

men of all classes and of all characters which is evidence how well 
fitted was the writer for dealing with all sorts and conditions of men. 
And how he dealt with them may be found out from the fourteen books 
of his epistles, that wonderful storehouse of Roman religion and 
diplomacy laid up by the first of the great popes. The register of his 
letters is known to have been in existence not long after his death. It was 
known in later years to Bede and Boniface, and formed the basis of the 
latest collection and arrangement. In this many details of policy may 
be followed, and the main aims and methods of the great Pope may be 
studied. Each alike, the treatise and the letters, shews the same ideal of 
the pastoral office, that it is a work of governance of men to be exercised 
by those who have intimate knowledge of men’s hearts and are skilled in 
the treatment of their souls. Politics are but a branch of the dealing 
with men on behalf of God which belongs of obligation to a bishop of 
Christ’s Church. And this thought, almost as much as any necessary 
assertion of orthodox faith and profession of brotherly kindness, is to be 
seen in the synodical letter in which he announced to the patriarchs of 
Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem his accession to the 
Roman bishopric, and his belief in the doctrine of the Four General 
Councils, as also in that of the more recent Fifth. The practical 
expression of this ideal in the life of the new Pope could be read by all 
men who came in contact with him. He lived ascetically, as he had 
lived in his own monastery, and while nuncio at Constantinople: he 
surrounded himself with grave and reverend men, dismissing the curled 
and exquisite fops who had thronged the courts of earlier popes, a gang 
of self-indulgent scholars and servants obnoxious to the stern man who 
had not so learned Christ. Of himself the words of his early biographer 
Paul the Deacon present a vivid picture: “He was never at rest. 
Always was he busy in taking care for the interests of his people, or in 
writing some treatise worthy of the Church, or in searching out the 
hidden things of heaven by the grace of contemplation.” His daily 
audiences, his constant sermons, filled up the burden of his continual 
correspondence. And all through the fourteen years of his pontificate 
he struggled against the illnesses which had perhaps their beginning in 
his ascetic rigours. If his letters breathe a spirit of sternness and make 
high demands upon men of commonplace intellect and low ideals, there 
was no one with whom he was more stern, no one before whom he set 
higher ideals, than himself. 

Gregory’s policy towards the whole Christian world radiated from 
the centre. There, at Rome, men could see his life of strict rule: they 
could see him reconsecrating Arian churches to Catholic use, could hear 
him preaching, could watch his elaborate measures for the relief of the 
poor. “Other pontiffs,” says his biographer, “gave themselves to 
building churches and adorning them with gold and silver; but 
Gregory, while he did not altogether neglect this duty, was entirely 

¢. MED. H. VOL. Ul. CH. VIII. (B) 16 

242 Gregory's Administration [590-603 

taken up with gaining souls, and all the money he could obtain he was 
anxious to give away and bestow upon the poor.” He was a practical 
ruler first of all and that as a Christian bishop: afterwards he was a 
theologian and a statesman. This accounts for the fact that he views 
all political questions sub specie aeternitatis and shews no interest in any 
work of pure learning or scholarship even in Rome itself. 

And indeed the practical needs of the time were enough to absorb 
the whole thoughts of any man who was set to rule. If in the East the 
emperors were fully occupied with wars against Persians and Avars, and 
were able to give little heed and no help to the stress of the city from 
which their sovereignty took its name, the Papacy, already partly the 
representative and partly the rival of the imperial power, was beset on 
every side by the barbarian invasion and settlement. Rome itself had 
become, for all practical purposes, an isolated and distant part of the 
Roman Empire. Imperial power in Italy had dwindled till it was only 
a name. But at the ancient centre of the ancient Empire sat, in the 
fourteen years from 590, a man of commanding genius, of ceaseless 
vigilance and of incessant activity, whose letters covered almost every 
political, religious and social interest of his time. His influence as a 
great spiritual teacher and a great ruler of men radiated over the whole 
Christian world. 

The internal cares belonging to the “ patrimony of St Peter” were 
not light. The estates from which the income was derived were 
scattered all over Italy, most largely in Sicily and round Rome, but 
also in east and south, beyond the peninsula in Illyricum and Gaul, 
in Africa, and in the isles of Corsica and Sardinia. They were ad- 
ministered by a multitude of officials, often with the help of the 
imperial administrators. Gregory liked to choose his agents from 
among the clergy, and employed priests and even bishops in this secular 

All were directly under the orders of the bishop of Rome himself, 
and Gregory’s letters of appointment contain special provision for the 
care of the poor, for the keeping of strict accounts to be sent to Rome, 
for the maintenance generally of ecclesiastical interests. Thus the 
rectores and defensores were often charged with a sort of supervision 
which, while it at several points encroached upon the proper province of 
the bishop, served to keep the distant and scattered estates in close touch 
with the central authority of the Roman see. Thus what was at first 
a mere matter of the ownership of property, through its duties and 
responsibilities being enjoyed by the greatest bishop of the Church, 
tended to become a lordship no less spiritual than material. Even 
bishops themselves were under the eye of the Pope’s representative, and 
that naturally came to mean that sooner or later they would fall under 
the jurisdiction of the Pope. For this Gregory’s indefatigable care was 
largely responsible. We find him within the first eighteen months of 

590-603 | Gregory's Administration 243 

his pontificate writing almost once a month to the Rector Siciliae, the 
subdeacon whom he long employed in positions of trust in different parts 
of Italy. The letters shew minute care for justice, for the suppression 
of unjust exactions, for the redress of grievances, as well as for the 
maintenance of proprietary rights: besides the great landlord, there 
speaks the great bishop and shepherd of the souls of men. No matter 
was too small for the Pope’s attention, whether it was a safeguard for 
the interests of a convert from Judaism, a direction as to the disposal 
of cows and calves, of houses and granaries, or a criticism of the 
provision for personal needs. ‘You have sent us,” he once wrote, “a 
miserable horse and five good donkeys. The horse I cannot ride 
because it is miserable, nor the donkeys, good though they be, because 
they are donkeys.” Different views have been taken of this interesting 
correspondence between Gregory and his factor, but at least it reveals 
the very close attention which the Pope paid to detail in the oversight 
of the vast possessions of his see. ‘ As we ought not to allow property 
belonging to the Church to be lost, so we deem it a breach of law to try 
to take what belongs to others,” are words which might serve as a 
motto for his relation towards temporal things. With minute care he 
stopped the abuses which had stained the administration under his 
predecessors. But above all the Pope endeavoured to shew in practical 
alms-giving the fervent charity of his heart. John the Deacon tells 
that there was still preserved, nearly three hundred years later, among 
the muniments of the Lateran, a large book in which the names of the 
recipients of his benefactions, in Rome or the suburbs, in the Campagna 
and on the coast, were set down. In nothing was he more insistent 
than in the duty of ransoming captives, those taken in the wars and 
sold as slaves in markets even so far away as Libya. Many letters deal 
with the subject, convey his exhortations to bishops to join in the work 
and return thanks for the gifts he had received to help it. Thus did 
the largest landowner in Italy endeavour to discharge the duties of his 

From his administration of the papal patrimony we pass naturally to 
his policy as a ruler, his dealings with the affairs of the world, as a 
statesman and as a pope. 

As a statesman his first and closest concern was with the Lombards. 
Already he had been concerned in endeavouring to protect Rome and 
the parts of Italy still unconquered: that had been the special object 
of his long embassy at Constantinople. The emperors had given no aid, 
but the Franks had caused a diversion by thrice attacking the Lombards 
in flank. But the snake was not killed, hardly scotched; and before 
Gregory had been long on the throne peace between Franks and 
Lombards had been made by the new king Agilulf, who had married 
Theodelinda, the late king’s widow, and he turned the thoughts of the 
Lombards towards the extension of their conquests from imperial Rome. 

CH. VIII. (B) 16—2 

244 Military Measures [591-592 

Still the ancient Empire, dimmed in its glory and with ill-welded 
traditions from Christian and pagan past, held out in the great cities of 
Genoa and Naples, of Ravenna and Rome, the two last the centres of 
government under exarch and pope. At first the danger seemed to 
come not from the king but from one of the dukes. At Spoleto on the 
Flaminian Way was settled a Lombard colony of invaders under Ariulf, 
the outposts of whose territory were almost within sight of Rome; and 
Gregory when he wrote to his friends at Constantinople declared that he 
found himself ‘bishop not of the Romans but of the Lombards, men 
whose promises are swords and whose grace a pain.” 

Against “the unspeakable Ariulf” he was ever on the watch. In 
591 and 592 he was taking constant precaution, telling the Maguster 
militum at Perugia to fall, if need be, on his rear, and bidding the 
clergy and people of the lesser cities in the neighbourhood to be on their 
guard and to obey the Pope’s representative in all things. Step by step 
the Lombard duke approached, as yet without active hostility. In July 
592 at length he spoke of Ariulf as being close to the city, “slaying 
and mutilating”; and Arichis, the Lombard duke of Benevento, was at 
the same time threatening Naples. The Pope himself sent a military 
commander to the southern city. He bitterly resented the weakness 
of Romanus the exarch, which prevented him from dealing in martial 
fashion with the duke of Spoleto. Left helpless, he prepared to make 
a peace with Ariulf, and in July 592 it seems that a separate agreement 
was concluded which saved Rome from sack. Paul the Deacon tells that 
an interview between the Lombard duke and the Roman bishop made 
the “tyrant” ever after a devoted servant of the Roman Church. “ His 
heart was touched by divine grace, and he perceived that there was so 
much power in the Pope’s words that with humblest courtesy he made 
satisfaction to the most religious Apostolic bishop.” Gregory’s states- 
manship and charm won a diplomatic victory which preserved Rome 
from the Lombards. 

But indirectly it would seem as if this success laid the city open to 
another attack. Romanus the exarch was encouraged by it to secure 
the communications between Ravenna and Rome by a campaign which 
recovered many cities, including Perugia, from the Lombards. This 
new activity on the part of the Empire which he may well have deemed 
moribund aroused Agilulf, the Lombard king, to action. He marched 
southwards, recaptured Perugia, and put to death Maurisio, a duke 
of the Lombards, who had surrendered the city to the exarch and now 
held it for the Empire. Thence he marched to Rome. 

Gregory was illustrating Ezekiel, in sombre homily, by the tragic 
events of his day, the decay of ancient institutions, the devastation of 
country, the destruction of cities. Daily came news which deepened the 
gloom of his picture, till at length he closed the book and set himself 
to defend the city. The defence as before was that of spiritual not 

593-595 | Disputes with the Emperor 245 

material arms. Agilulf met Gregory on the steps of St Peter’s, and the 
weighty wisdom of the prelate gave power to his prayers for the city : 
they prevailed, the siege was abandoned, and Agilulf went back to 
Milan, where the letters of Gregory were as familiar to the clergy and 
as powerful as was his rule in Rome. 

Thither came epistles to Theodelinda, the Arian Agilulf’s Catholic 
wife, instructing her in the right belief as to the still unfinished strife 
about the Three Chapters, and to Constantius the bishop, begging him 
to negotiate a peace between the Lombards and the Empire. 

Peace was impossible so long as the Caesar at Constantinople claimed 
the lordship of all Italy, and the Lombard barbarian asserted all real 
power over the peninsula. Nor was Gregory at the time the person to 
bring the foes together, for in August 593 he had written to the 
Emperor Maurice in terms of criticism strangely bold and direct. When 
Maurice was “not yet lord of all” he had been Gregory’s own lord, and 
still the Pope would call himself the unworthy servant of the pious 
Emperor. But anew edict which forbade a civil servant of the Empire, 
or a soldier, to become priest or monk, seemed to him a monstrous 
infringement of individual and religious liberty. By it, he said, the way 
to heaven would be closed to many, for while there were those who could 
lead a religious life in a secular dress, yet more there were who unless 
they forsook all things could in no way attain salvation. What 
answer would he, who from notary had been made by God first captain, 
then Caesar, then Emperor, then father of Emperor yet to be, and to 
whose care the priests of God had been entrusted, make to the divine 
inquest of the Last Day if not one single soldier was allowed to be 
converted to the Lord? And Gregory drew a lurid picture of the “ end 
of the ages” which seemed to be at hand, the heavens and the earth 
aflame and the elements melting with fervent heat, and the Divine Judge 
ready to appear with the six orders of angels in His train. Yet it is an 
illustration of the fidelity with which Gregory performed all his secular 
obligations that he had caused the law against which he so vehemently 
protested to be published in the usual way. 

This was not the only divergence in opinion between the Pope and 
the imperial Court. Gregory, with all his respect for authority, was at 
least able to hold his own, and there was for a while at least no breach 
in the friendly relations with Constantinople. Maurice sent relief to the 
sufferers from the Lombard invasion, and Gregory lost no opportunity 
of advising that the separate peace which he had made with Agilulf 
should be enlarged at least into a general truce. Gregory, inter gladios 
Langobardorum, could appreciate the needs of Italy in a way that was 
impossible for the distant Augustus. In 595 however the divergence 
came to a head. The Emperor reviewed the Pope’s peace policy in terms 
of contemptuous condemnation and Gregory answered in one of the most 
vigorous of all his letters, dated June 595. He resented the imputation 

vill. (B) 

246 Pope and Patriarch 

that because he thought that a firm peace could be made, as indeed it 
had been made, with Ariulf of Spoleto, he was a fool. Fool indeed was 
he to suffer what he suffered in Rome among the swords of the 
Lombards; but still he was a servant of the truth, and grave injustice 
was it to the priesthood that he should be deemed a liar. On behalf 
of all priests he made dignified protest, recalling the action and 
words of the great Constantine as a rebuke to his successor in the 
Empire. “Where all is uncertain I betake myself to tears and prayers 
that Almighty God will rule with His own hand our most pious lord, 
and in the terrible judgment will find him free from all offences, and so 
cause me to please men that I may not offend against His grace.” 

How the Emperor received this letter we do not know; but already 
there were other causes of dispute between Rome and Constantinople. 
His experience had not made the Pope very cordial towards Church 
or State in the New Rome. Useful at Constantinople Gregory must 
undoubtedly have been, but the fact that he never learned Greek shews 
at least that there were limits to his usefulness. The information he 
received would often be inadequate, the means of communication with 
the people among whom he dwelt incomplete. Official interpreters do 
not always represent meanings faithfully. Gregory had to deal most 
with the imperial Court, where his ignorance of Greek may not have been 
so great a barrier; but, in his relations with the Patriarch, it would 
at least serve to prevent any strengthening of the friendship between 
Churches which were already beginning to drift apart. 

That the Church was under the rule of five patriarchs was a 
familiar view, and at least from the time of Vigilius (537-555) it 
had been accepted in official language at Rome. Thus Gregory had 
announced his own election to the patriarchs of Constantinople, 
Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch. His letters shew traces of another 
theory, that of the three patriarchates, Rome, Antioch and Alexandria, 
sharing, as it were, the throne of St Peter. But Constantinople had 
long asserted a pre-eminence. Justinian had recognised its precedence 
as second of the great sees, superior to all others save Rome, and had 
declared the Church of Constantinople to be “the head of all the 
churches.” In doing this no doubt the Empire had claimed no supreme 
or exclusive dignity for the New Rome, nor asserted any indivisible 
or unalterable jurisdiction. But what the law recognised had en- 
couraged further expansion of claim. At first the relation between 
Constantinople and the elder see was regarded as parallel to that 
between the two capitals: they represented not diversity but unity : 
as there was one Empire, so there was one Church. When John 
the Patriarch accepted the formula of faith drawn up by Pope 
Hormisdas he prefixed to it an assertion of the mutual relation: “I 
hold the most holy Churches of the old and the new Rome to be one. 
I define the see of the Apostle Peter and this of the imperial city to be 

588—595 | Controversy with John the Faster 247 

one see.” From this it was an inevitable step to use titles which Rome 
used. The pontiff of Constantinople claimed to be oecumenical (o¢Kov- 
Mevexos or universalis) patriarch. 

In 588 Pelagius declared the acts of a synod at Constantinople to be 
invalid because the patriarch had used the phrase. Very likely Gregory 
himself had been the adviser of this course. Now in 595 he pursued the 
protest. John the Faster had written to him and had employed the 
offensive title “in almost every line.” Gregory wrote, as he describes it, 
“sweetly and humbly admonishing him to amend this appetite for vain 
glory.” He forbade his envoy to communicate with the patriarch till he 
had abandoned the title. At the same time he repudiated any wish to 
assume it for himself. ‘ The Council of Chalcedon,” he said, “ offered 
the title of wniversalis to the Roman pontiff but he refused to accept it, 
lest he should seem thereby to derogate from the honour of his brother 
bishops.” He saw indeed that political interests were complicating the 
ecclesiastical claim. His envoy had been commanded by the Emperor 
to adjure him to live in peace with the patriarch, who seemed to him to 
be as hypocritical as he was proud. Then either he must obey the 
Emperor and encourage the proud man in his vanity, or he must 
alienate the Emperor, his lord and the natural defender of Rome. He 
did not hesitate. He wrote to the Emperor, tracing the misfortunes of 
the Empire to the pride of the clergy. When Europe was given over to 
the barbarians, with cities ruined, villages thrown down and provinces 
without inhabitants ; when the husbandman no longer tilled the soil, 
and the worshippers of idols daily murdered the faithful, the priests 
who should have abased themselves in sackcloth and ashes sought for 
themselves empty names and titles novel and profane. Peter was never 
called Universal Apostle, yet John strove to be Universal Bishop. 
“TJ confidently affirm that whosoever calls himself sacerdos universalis, 
or desires to be so called by others, is in his pride a forerunner of 
Antichrist.” What he said to the Emperor he reinforced to the 
Empress. There should be no peace with the patriarch so long as he 
claimed this outrageous designation. On the other side the argument 
became no attitude of aggression, hardly a claim for equality. The 
patriarchs did not assert that they were above the popes, and they 
constantly declared that they had no wish to lessen the authority of the 
other patriarchs. But whatever the Greeks might say, the Latins saw 
that words represented ideas ; and universality could not be predicated 
of Constantinople in any sense which was not offensive to the venerable 
see and city of Rome. The bitterness of the strife abated when John 
the Faster died on 2 September 595, it may be before Gregory’s severe 
judgment had reached him. Cyriacus, his successor, was a personal 
friend of the Pope, and a man of no personal pride. Gregory welcomed 
his accession and thanked the Emperor for his choice. But in spite of 
friendly letters the claim was not abandoned. ‘The patriarchs continued 

CH. VIII. (B) 

248 Church and State 

to use the title of oecumenical bishop, and before a century had passed. 
the popes followed their example. 

Gregory saw that the patriarchs of Constantinople were in danger of 
sinking into mere officials of the State, for with all their lofty position 
they were in the power of the imperial Court. But the tone in which he 
addressed them was always distinct from that which he employed 
towards the lay officials of the Empire. From the beginning of his 
pontificate he had carefully cultivated relations with the exarchs of 
Ravenna and of Africa, the praetor of Sicily, the dukes of Naples and 
Sardinia, the praefect of Illyria, the proconsul of Dalmatia, and with 
lesser officials rural and urban. His constant letters shew how closely 
he mingled in their concerns, watched their conduct, approved their 
industry, advised on their political action, intervened on their behalf or 
against them at Constantinople. Many of the officials were his close 
friends ; and the Emperor, in spite of the divergence between them, did 
not cease to give heed to the counsels of one whom he knew to be a wise 
and honest man. 

The maintenance of the imperial power in Italy indeed depended not 
a little on the great Pope, who yet by his incessant and widespread 
activity was preparing the way of the ecclesiastical power which should 
succeed it in the rule of the peninsula. The subdeacon who was his 
agent at Ravenna, and those who administered the property of the 
Church in the Campagna or in Sicily, the bishops themselves all over the 
Empire, reported to Rome and their words were not without effect, and 
in all the advice which issued from this information Gregory pressed 
without faltering the authority of the Church: the pope was above the 
exarch, the Church above the State: if the civil law was invoked to 
protect the weak, to guide the rulers, to secure the rights of all Christian 
men, there was behind it the supreme sanction of the law of the Church. 
It was natural indeed that they should not be distinguished: a wrong 
against man was a wrong against God. It did not matter whether it 
was the oppression of a peasant or the pillage of a monastery : iniquity, 
it was the perpetual cry of the great pontiff, should not go unpunished. 
And, in a corresponding view to his attitude towards civil justice, 
Gregory insisted on the privileges of clergy in the law courts; and in 
the civil courts he is found placing representatives of his own beside the 
lay judges. Outside the law there was still a wide sphere in which the 
aid of the State was demanded on behalf of the Church. Governors 
would bring back schismatics, were congratulated on their victories over 
heathen, were urged to act against heretics, and to protect and support 
those who had returned to the faith. 

On the other hand he no doubt set plain limits, in his own mind, to 
his sphere of action and that of the bishops. He constantly told the 
Italian bishops to observe the rights of the lay courts, not to interfere 
in the things of the world save when the interests of the poor demanded 

596—599 | Dealings with the Lombards 249 

help. But his own keen sense of Justice, his political training, his 
knowledge of affairs, forbade him to hold his tongue. The Empire, like 
the Church, was to him a splendid power of holy and heroic tradition : 
there was ever, he said to an imperial official, this difference between the 
Roman emperors and the barbarian kings that while the latter governed 
slaves the former were rulers of free men. To keep this always in the mind 
of the governing class must have been his aim, and his consolation, when, 
as he said, the cares of the world pressed so heavily upon him that he 
was often doubtful whether he was discharging the duties of an earthly 
official or those of a shepherd of men’s souls. 

In both capacities his work was continuous and engrossing. Invasion, 
rapine, insecurity of life and property, made clerk as well as lay lax 
livers, negligent stewards, cruel and faithless, luxurious and slothful. 
Against all such Gregory was the perpetual witness. 

When Romanus the exarch died, probably in 596, his successor at 
Ravenna, Callinicus, received a warm welcome from the Pope. For a 
time there was a lull in the tempest, but still Gregory preached 
vigilance, to bishop and governor alike, for Italy had not shaken off the 
terror even if Rome was for the moment outside the area of the storm. 
Writing in 598 to a lady in Constantinople the Pope was able to assure 
her that so great was the protection given by St Peter to the city that, 
without the aid of soldiers, he had “by God’s help been preserved for 
these many years among the swords of the enemy.” A truce was made 
with Agilulf, it seems, in 598: in 599 this became a general peace in 
which the Empire through the exarch, and with the active support, 
though not the signature, of the Pope, came to agreement with Agilulf 
the Lombard king and with the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento. His 
letters shew how much this was due to the tact, the wisdom, the 
patient persistence of Gregory; and it is certain also that Theodelinda, 
the Catholic wife of Agilulf, had played no unimportant part in the 
work of pacification. At Monza remain the relics of this wise queen ; 
fitly beside the iron crown of the Lombards is the image of the protection 
that was given by the peace of Church and State, a hen that gathers her 
chickens under her wings. 

The year 599 which dates this peace between the “Christian 
Republic” and the Lombards marks a definite epoch in the history of 
Italy. Paul the Deacon in his History of the Lombards shews that it 
was a time of crisis, conquest, and resettlement for Agilulf the king. 
The letters of Gregory shew that it was for him a period of incessant 
activity and reassertion of papal authority, while at Rome the city 
was “sa reduced by the languor of various diseases that there are scarce 
left men enough to guard the walls” and the Pope himself was in the 
clutch of increasing sickness, often unable to leave his bed for days 
together. Italy was still swept by pestilence ; and exhaustion as well as 
political peace gave quiet for some two years. 

CH. VIII. (B) 

250 Gregory and Phocas [ 601-603 

In 601 the flames of war were rekindled by a rash move on the part 
of the exarch Callinicus. Agilulf again took up arms, seized Pavia and 
levelled it to the ground—a fate which the medieval chroniclers century 
by century record to have befallen the unhappy city. He made alliance 
with the heathen Avars, and with them ravaged Istria. He passed over 
northern Italy in a career of conquest: he carried the Lombard frontier 
forwards to include the valley of the Po. At Ravenna the imperial 
authority lingered on, and the exarch Callinicus was succeeded by 
Smaragdus, holding office for a second time. But the reality of power 
was passing, if it had not already passed, under the incessant energy of 
Gregory, into the hands of the Pope, who had become the practical 
ruler of central Italy. It was in the year 603, when the Empire and 
the Lombards were at war, that Gregory shewed his aloofness from a 
strife which seems to have left the power of the Church undisturbed, by 
his rejoicing at the Catholic baptism of Adaloald, the firstborn son of 
Agilulf the Arian and Theodelinda the Catholic queen. Paul the 
Deacon indeed says, though he is unsupported by other witness, that 
Agilulf the father had already accepted the Catholic faith. As his 
sickness grew the great Pope saw the future less dark than it had been 
during his life of anxiety. Rome, if impoverished and enfeebled, was 
securely in the possession of its bishop; and the conflicts which raged 
over northern and central Italy could hardly end, now that Catholicism 
was conquering the Lombards, otherwise than in favour of the papal power. 

It may well be that this feeling coloured his attitude when news 
came to him of the revolution at Constantinople in 602. Maurice had 
long seemed to Gregory, as indeed he had seemed to his people, to be 
unworthy of the imperial throne. He was timid when he should have 
been bold, rash when prudence was essential to the safety of the State. 
His health had broken down, and fits of cowardice alternated with out- 
bursts of frenzied rage. All the tales of him that reached Rome would 
increase Gregory’s dislike and distrust. Already he had rebuked the 
Caesar to his face, and well he may have thought, when he heard of his 
deposition and murder by the centurion Phocas, that the warning he 
had given had been disregarded, and the judgment he had prophesied 
had come. With Maurice perished his whole family, with whom 
Gregory had been on terms of affectionate regard. Maurice had been 
an unwise, perhaps a tyrannical ruler, and certainly he had seemed to 
the Pope an oppressor of the poor. And he had supported the patriarch 
in his overweening pretension to be “ universal bishop.” When Phocas 
therefore announced his accession, silent no doubt as to the butcheries 
which accompanied it, and dwelling rather on his orthodoxy and attach- 
ment to the Apostolic See, Gregory replied in language of surprising 
cordiality. The revolution was to him something that came from “the 
incomprehensible providence of God”; and he trusted that soon he 
should be comforted by the abundance of rejoicing that the sufferings 

602 | Gregory's Historical Position 251 

of the poor had been redressed—‘ We will rejoice that your benignity 
and piety are come to the imperial throne.” Later letters to Phocas and 
his wife Leontia breathe the same spirit: of congratulations on the 
political change: of hope that it will mean relief and liberty for the 
Empire: of solicitude that the aid which Maurice had long denied 
might now be given to Italy, trodden down by the barbarian and 
the heretic. We are shocked as we read Gregory’s cordial letters to 
the brutal murderer of Maurice; but we must remember that the 
Pope had no representative at Constantinople to tell him what had 
really happened: all that he may have known was that popular in- 
dignation had swept a tyrant from the throne and avenged its injuries 
on him and his innocent family, and that a soldier had been set up, 
with all due forms of law, as ruler in his stead. From a bed of suffering 
he indited these letters to those from whom he might have new hopes of 
the salvation of Italy. But he wrote as an official of the Church to an 
official of the State, and he mingled with his formal words of congratula- 
tion and the Church’s Gloria in eacelsis no words of personal adulation. 
Whatever may be the true judgment on Gregory’s attitude at this 
moment, it is obvious that in the change of dynasty he hoped for a better 
prospect for Italy and knew that more power would come to Rome itself 
and the Roman bishop. 

It is as a Roman and a Roman bishop that Gregory fills the great 
place he holds in the history of the Middle Age. He was a Roman 
of the Romans, nurtured on traditions of Rome’s imperial greatness, 
cherishing the memories of pacification and justice, of control and 
protection. And these, which belonged to “the Republic,” he was eager 
to transfer to the Church. Vague were the claims which the Roman 
bishops had already put forth in regard to the universal Church. But 
what all bishops held as inherent in their office, the right of giving 
advice and administration, was held by the Roman pontiffs to belong 
especially to the see which was founded in the imperial city. There was a 
prerogative of the Roman bishop as of the Roman Emperor, and already 
the one was believed to run parallel to the other. ‘The Pope directly 
superintended a large part of the Christian world : everywhere he could 
reprove and exhort with authority, though the authority was often 
contested. And Gregory's exercise of this power was one of the great 
moments in the world’s history. To the practical assertions of his pre- 
decessors he gave a new moral weight, and it was that which carried 
the claims to victory. Well has it been said by Dean Church that “ he 
so administered the vast undefined powers supposed to be inherent in 
his see, that they appeared to be indispensable to the order, the good 
government and the hopes, not of the Church only, but of society.” 
And this success was due not so much to the extent of her claims or the 
weakness of his competitors, but to the moral force which flowed from 
his life of intellectual, moral and spiritual power. 

CH. VIII. (B) 

252 The Church in Africa [591-596 

We can trace, in different but conspicuous ways, the effect of this 
force in Africa, in Britain, in Spain and in Gaul, in Istria and Dalmatia, 
as well as nearer home. In Africa there was a period of revival since 
the imperial reconquest from the Vandals. For more than half a 
century the Church, diminished in power no doubt and weakened in its 
organisation, had been re-established, and Arianism had been successfully 
extirpated, if we may judge from the silence of the Pope’s letters. The 
imperial officials were ready to accept his advice, or even authority. 
Side by side with the bishops of Numidia and Carthage, we find 
Gennadius the exarch extending the influence of the papal see; and 
appeals to Rome seem to have been recognised and encouraged. On the 
other hand Gregory was careful to make no practical encroachment on 
the power of the bishops and even to encourage their independence, 
while he asserted the supremacy of Rome in uncompromising terms: 
“I know of no bishop who is not subject to the Apostolic See, when 
a fault has been committed.” His intervention was chiefly invoked 
in regard to the still surviving Donatism of Numidia. Against the 
Donatists he endeavoured to encourage the action of both the secular 
and the ecclesiastical power. “God,” he said to the praetorian praefect 
Pantaleo, “will require at your hand the souls that are lost.” In one 
city even the bishop had allowed a Donatist rival to establish himself ; 
and Church and State alike were willing to let the heretics live un- 
disturbed on the payment of a ransom-rent. To Gregory it seemed that 
the organisation of the Church was defective and her ministers were 
slothful. ’ 

The primacy in northern Africa, except the proconsular province, 
where the bishop of Carthage was primate, belonged to the senior bishop, 
apart from the dignity of his see or the merits of his personal life; and 
it was claimed that the rule went back to the time of St Peter the 
Apostle and had been continued ever since. Gregory accepted the 
historic account of the origin of the African episcopate, as is shewn by 
a letter to Dominicus, bishop of Carthage. On it he based an impres- 
sive demand for stedfast obedience, and he appointed a bishop named 
Columbus to act as his representative, though he was not formally entitled 
Vicar Apostolic. A council in 593 received his instructions ; but they 
do not seem to have been carried out. A long correspondence shews the 
urgency of the need for action against the Donatists, and the difficulty 
of getting anything done. By the toleration of the imperial government 
they had been enabled to keep their churches and bishops ; they 
conducted an active propaganda, they secured the rebaptism of many 
converts. For six years, from 591 to 596, Gregory’s letters shew the 
vehemence of the contest in which he was engaged. In 594 a council 
at Carthage received an imperial decree stirring Church and State to 
action ; but the State did not abandon its tolerant attitude: still there 
was great slackness, and Gregory wrote urgently to the Emperor on the 

591-596 | The Church in Africa 253 

subject. It would seem that some measures were taken, and that the 
law was in some districts enforced; but Donatism if it died down did 
not become extinct. It was largely through his constant interventions 
in the matter of heresy that Gregory was able to establish on so firm a 
basis the papal authority in the exarchate of Africa. He concerned 
himself no less with the surviving pagans, urging Gennadius to wage 
war against them “not for the pleasure of shedding blood but with the 
aim of extending the limits of Christendom, that by the preaching of the 
faith, the Name of Christ should be honoured among the subject tribes.” 
Constant in urging the secular officials to action, Gregory was still more 
urgent with the bishops. A continual correspondence was maintained 
with the African episcopate: everyone who had a grievance applied to 
him: no important decision was arrived at without his consent. He 
claimed to defend with unchanged determination “the rights and 
privileges of Saint Peter.” Paul of Numidia applied to him for justice 
against the Donatists, and the patrician Gennadius, who persecuted him, 
bishop though he was. With stedfast persistence the Pope insisted on 
securing the trial of the case himself, and sent the bishop back to Africa 
assured of the imperial protection. Almost insensibly his persistence 
and the moral grandeur of his character told on the independence of the 
imperial officials. ‘They began to listen to his advice, and then to admit 
his authority ; and it was soon hard to distinguish their respect for the 
man from their obedience to the See. And at the same time, amid the 
chaos of administrative disorder, the people put their trust in the Church : 
they took the bishops for their defenders, and most of all the Bishop of 
Rome. Gregory exercised the authority then bestowed upon him partly 
through Hilarus, whom he sent to be overseer of the patrimony of the 
Church, and partly through the Numidian bishop Columbus. If protest 
was made—as it seems to have been made by a Numidian primate 
Adeodatus and by Dominicus of Carthage—it was overruled: Rome, said 
Gregory, was the mother church of Africa, and her authority must be 
respected. Such a pope was one to make it respected, whether he 
advised and exhorted in regard to the decay of spiritual life in monas- 
teries, or reproved administrators and judges for unjust exaction of 
tribute. No better illustration of the way in which the papal claims 
attained acceptance could be found than is afforded by the history of 
Africa in the time of Gregory the Great. 

While Donatism died hard in Africa, nearer home the controversy of 
the Three Chapters was not yet concluded. In Istria the Church was in 
schism, for it had not submitted to the decision of East and West. 
Gregory invoked (with but small success) the secular arm against Severus, 
patriarch of Aquileia, and summoned him to Rome. The bishops of the 
province protested and adjured the Emperor to protect them, professing 
no obedience to Rome and threatening to acknowledge the ecclesiastical 
authority of Gaul. Maurice commanded Gregory to stay his hand, which 

CH, VIII. (B) 

254 Istria: Gaul [ 595-596 

he did very reluctantly. He had long before intervened in the matter 
as the secretary of Pelagius II: he distrusted the Istrian bishops as 
schismatics and as assertors of independence, and when he became pope 
had again addressed them in lucid theological arguments. He received 
individual submissions, and he used every kind of pressure to heal the 
schism ; but when he died his efforts had not been entirely successful. 
With Milan too he had similar difficulties. Defective theology was 
combined with provincial independence in resistance to papal power. 
In Dalmatia and Illyria other difficulties needed other treatment. 
An archbishop whose manner of life did not befit his office was rebuked, 
ironically exhorted, pardoned: when he died a strong attempt was made 
to fill his place by a man of austere life whom the Pope had long 
honoured. The attempt was a failure, and a very long and bitter 
struggle ensued in which Maximus, the imperial candidate, was refused 
recognition, summoned to trial at Rome and only at last admitted to 
his see as lawful prelate when he had lain prone in penance at Ravenna, 
crying “I have sinned against God and the most blessed Pope Gregory.” 
Over Illyria generally, in spite of the creation of Justiniana Prima as a 
patriarchate by the Emperor who had given it his name, he exercised 
the power of a patriarch. He forbade the bishops to attend a synod at 
Constantinople without his leave. He made it plain that Illyria belonged 
to the West and not to the East. 

And in the West he was ever eager to enlarge the boundaries of the 
Church. Already as a young man he had set his heart on the conversion 
of the English. As pope he had the means to undertake it. It may 
be that he planned it, as Bede says, as soon as he came to discharge 
the office of pontiff, and also, as one of his letters suggests, that he 
prepared for it by ordering the purchase of English slave boys to be 
trained in Gaulish monasteries. It was probably in 595 that he first 
sent forth the monk Augustine and his companions to journey through 
Gaul to Britain for the conversion of .the English. When, daunted by 
anticipated dangers, the monks sent Augustine back, Gregory ordered him 
to return as their abbot, and furnished him with letters to the bishops 
of Gaul, and notably to Vergilius of Arles, the bishop of Aix and the 
abbot of Lerins, as well as to Theodebert of Austrasia and Theodoric of 
Burgundy, children of nine and ten, under the guardianship of Brunhild 
their grandmother. To Brunhild herself, “queen of the Franks,” who 
went with him, he was sure, “in heart and soul,” the Pope said that the 
English nation, by the favour of God, wished to become Christian, and 
he was sending Augustine and other monks to take thought—in which 
he bade her help—for their conversion. He considered that the bishops 
of Gaul had been remiss, in doing nothing for the conversion of those 
English tribes whom he regarded as their neighbours: but when in 596 
he set the new mission in motion, he was able, as his letters shew, to 
rely upon personal kindness from the queen towards the missionaries 

596-601 | Mission to the English 255 

and upon the aid of Gaulish priests as interpreters of the barbarous 
English tongue. The mission was, vaguely, to “the nation of the 
English,” for Gregory knew no difference between the men of Deira 
and the men of Kent; and Augustine would learn at Paris, if not 
before, that the wife of Aethelberht of Kent was daughter of a Frankish 

The tale of the landing, the preaching, and the success will be told 
elsewhere. Here it belongs only to note that Gregory continued to 
take the keenest interest in the venture he had planned. He instructed 
Vergilius of Arles to consecrate Augustine as bishop, and spread over 
Christendom the news of the great work that was accomplished. 'To 
Eulogius, patriarch of Alexandria, he told of the conversion, due, as he 
said, to their prayers, and he warmly thanked Syagrius, bishop of Autun, 
and Brunhild for their aid. To Augustine in 601 he sent the pallium, 
a mark of favour conferred by pope or emperor, not, it would seem, as 
conferring metropolitan authority, which Augustine had already exercised, 
but as recognising his position as a special representative of the Roman 
see. To the queen Berhta, whose somewhat tardy support of the 
Christian faith in her husband’s land he was able now to eulogise and to 
report even to the Emperor at Constantinople, he wrote words of exhorta- 
tion to support Augustine, and to Aethelberht her husband admonition 
and praise with his favourite eschatological reference. To the end 
Gregory remained the trusted adviser of the Apostle of the English. 
He sent special reinforcements, with all manner of things, says Bede, 
needed for public worship and the service of the Church, commending 
the new missionaries again to the Gaulish bishops and instructing them 
especially as to the conversion of heathen temples into Christian churches. 
And he gave a very careful reply, written with characteristic breadth 
and tact, to the questions which Augustine addressed to him when the 
difficulties of his work had begun to be felt. The authenticity of these 
answers, it is true, has been doubted, but the evidence, external as well 
as internal, appears to be sufficient’. The questions related to the 
support of the mission clergy, the liturgical use of the national Church 
now formed in England, the co-operation necessary in the consecration of 
bishops, and to matters touching the moral law about which among a 
recently heathen nation a special sensitiveness was desirable. Gregory’s 
answers were those of a monk, even of a precisian, but they were also 
eminently those of a man of affairs and a statesman. “ Things,” he said, 
“are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of 
good things,” and the claim of Rome herself depended on such an 
assertion. As a monk he dealt firmly with morals: as a statesman he 
sketched out the future organisation of the English Church. London 

1 See Mason, Mission of St Augustine, pp viii, ix. Ewald does not decide against 

OH. VIII. (B) 

256 Gregory and Gaul 

was to be one metropolitan see, York the other, each with the pallium 
and with twelve suffragan sees. Neither bishop was to be primate of all 
England by right, but the senior in consecration was to be the superior, 
according, it seems, to the custom of the Church in Africa of which he had 
experience, but restricted as his wisdom shewed to be desirable. It may 
be that Gregory had already heard of the position of the British Church: 
if so, he provided for its subjection to a metropolitan. Certainly he 
judged acutely according to the knowledge he possessed. 

The beginnings of the English mission had brought the Pope into 
closer observation than before with the kings and bishops of peoples but 
recently converted to the faith. In Austrasia, Neustria and Burgundy 
reigned a race of kings whose wickedness was but slightly tempered by 
the Christianity they had accepted. In Spain there was more wisdom 
and more reality of faith. 

From Britain we pass naturally to the country through which 
Gregory’s envoys passed on their way to new spiritual conversion: from 
Gaul we may pass to Spain. So far did Gregory’s interests extend: of 
his power it may not be possible to speak with so much certainty. In 
truth the Church in Europe was not yet a centralised body, and local 
independence was especially prominent among the Franks. Even in 
doctrine there are traces of divergence, though these were kept in check 
by a number of local councils which discussed and accepted the theological 
decisions which came to them from East and West. But the real power 
resided in the bishops, as administrators, rulers, shepherds of men’s 
souls. Christianity at this period, and notably Frankish Christianity, 
has been described as a federation of city churches of which each one 
was a little monarchy in itself. If no one doubted the papal primacy, it 
was much further away than the arbitrary authority of the kings, and in 
nothing were the Merovingians more determined than in their control of 
the Church in their dominions. If in the south the bishop of Arles, as 
vicar of the Gauls, maintained close relations with the Roman see, the 
episcopate as a whole held aloof, respectful certainly but not obedient. 
The Church in Gaul had been engulfed in a barbarian conquest, cut off 
from Italy, severed from its ancient spiritual ties. The conversion of 
Clovis gave a new aspect to this separation. The kings assumed a 
powerful influence over the bishops, and asserted their supremacy in 
ecclesiastical matters. Whatever may have been the theory, in practice 
the interference of Rome in Gaul had become difficult, and was 
consequently infrequent: it had come to be considered unnecessary : 
the Church of the Franks had outgrown its leading-strings. But in 
practice? The special privileges of the see of Arles are evidence of a 
certain submission to the Papacy on the part of the Merovingian kings 
though the monarchs were autocrats in matters of religion as well Gh 
affairs of state, and did not encourage resort to the Holy See. It fell to 
Gregory, here as elsewhere, to inaugurate an era of defined authority. 

595 | Gregory and Gaul 257 

When he became pope the royal power of the Merovingians was at 
its height: in a few years it would totter to its fall, but now the clergy 
were submissive and the bishops for the most part the creatures of the 
court. When he died the claims of Rome to supremacy were established, 
even if they were not fully admitted. With Gaul throughout his ponti- 
ficate he maintained close relations. Gregory of Tours tells with what 
joy his namesake’s election was received by the Franks, and from the first 
sets himself to tell his doings and sayings with an unusual minuteness, 
Within a year of his accession the new Pope was called upon to judge 
the bishops of Arles and Marseilles, whom Jewish merchants accused to 
him of endeavouring forcibly to convert them: Gregory reproved and 
urged the bishops rather to preach and persuade than to coerce. Again, 
he reproved Vergilius of Arles and the bishop of Autun for allowing the 
marriage of a nun, commanding them to bring the woman to penitence, 
and exhorting them with all authority. He intervened in the affairs of 
monasteries, granting privileges and exemptions in a manner which 
shews the nature of the authority he claimed. By his advice the 
difficult questions raised by the insanity of a bishop in the province of 
Lyons were settled. He claimed to judge a Frankish bishop and restore 
him to his see, though here he felt it necessary to explain and justify 
his conduct to the masterful Brunhild. He is found reproving the icono- 
clastic tendencies of Serenus of Marseilles, and ordering him to replace 
the images which he has thrown down. He gave directions as to the 
holding of church councils, he advised bishops as to the administration of 
their dioceses and the enforcement of ecclesiastical discipline. His corre- 
spondence with bishops and monks was constant, the requests to him to 
intervene in the affairs of the Gallican Church were frequent. ‘Thus 
he prepared himself to inaugurate in Gaul a decisive and necessary 

Here he came into direct relations with the kings. In 595 
Childebert of Austrasia applied to him for a recognition of the powers, 
as papal representative, of the bishop of Arles—evidence of the survival 
of the traditional idea of dependence on the Roman Church. In granting 
the request Gregory took occasion to develop his scheme of ecclesiastical 
discipline. Simony, interference with the election of bishops, the nomina- 
tion of laymen to the episcopate, were crying evils: and the kings were 
responsible for them. He believed that the Frankish monarchy, the 
purity of whose faith shone by comparison with the dark treachery of 
other peoples, would rejoice to carry out his wishes ; and in the notorious 
Brunhild he strangely found a deep religious sense and good dispositions 
which should bear fruit in the salvation of men: to her he repeated the 
desires which he had expressed to Childebert and urged her to see that 
they were carried out. He applied to her to put down crime, idolatry, 
paganism, to prevent the possession by Jews of Christian slaves—with 
what success we do not know. Unsuccessful certainly he was when he 

C. MED. H. VOL. I. CH. vi. (B) iy 

258 Gregory and the Franks [595-599 
Dna ne 
urged Theodoric and Theodobert to restore to the bishop of Turin 
the parishes which he had lost during the barbarian invasion and which 
the Frankish kings were by no means willing should be under the control 
of a foreign bishop. But with Brunhild he seems always to have held 
the most cordial relations: she asked his advice and assistance in 
matters of religion and politics, in regard to a question of marriage law 
and to the relation of the Franks with the Empire in the East. And 
throughout his pontificate the attitude of the kings was one of deep 
respect, that of the Pope that of father by counsel which easily wore 
the cloak of authority. 

It was thus that early in his pontificate Gregory warned Childebert 
and Brunhild, as he warned Vergilius and the bishops of Childebert’s 
realm, of the need of instant action against the gross simony which was 
eating away the spiritual life of the Church. Young men, evil livers, 
laymen snatched from the business or pleasures of the world, were 
hurriedly ordained or hurriedly promoted and thrust into the high 
places of the Church. In 599 he addressed the bishops of Arles, Autun, 
Lyons and Vienne in vigorous protest, laying to their charge at least 
the acquiescence which made gross abuses possible. Ready though 
he was to submit to lawful exercise of the royal power in nomination, 
he utterly forbade the ordination of laymen in high office, as inexcusable 
and indefensible. ‘The Church was to be strengthened against the world 
by total prohibition of marriage to the clergy and by the summoning of 
yearly councils for the confirmation of faith and morals. In the councils 
everything was to be condemned which was contrary to the canons; and 
two prelates should represent him and inform him of what was done. 
The abbot Cyriacus was sent on a special mission, with letters to bishops, 
to kings, and to the queen Brunhild, to bring discipline to the Gallican 
Church. But the murderous uncertainty of dynastic intrigues set every 
obstacle in the way of a reform which might make the bishops less the 
creatures of the kings. To Theodoric at one moment thanks were given 
for his submission to papal commands, and he was directed to summon 
a council, At another a special envoy was sent to indicate and insist 
on reform. At another letter after letter in vehement exhortation was 
addressed to Brunhild, apparently the real ruler of the distracted realm. 
Bishops were again and again reproved, exhorted, reproached. But it is 
difficult, perhaps through the scanty nature of the historical materials of 
the period, to discover cases of definite submission to the papal authority. 
It was asserted with all the moral fervour and all the sagacious prudence 
which belonged to the great man who sat in the papal chair. It was not 
repudiated by Frankish kings and bishops: rather the assertion was 
received with judicious politeness and respect. 

But beyond this the evidence does not carry us. That the policy of 
the Frankish State was affected, or that the character of the kings, the 
ministers of the Crown, or even the bishops, was moulded by the influence 

585-586 | Gregory and the Visigoths 259 

of the Papacy it would be impossible to say. Tyrannous and fratricidal, 
the Merovingian kings lived their evil lives unchecked by more than 
a nominal regard for the teaching of Christian moralists. But Gregory’s 
continual interest in the Frankish Church was not in vain. He had 
established a personal relation with the barbarous kings: he had created 
a papal vicar in the kingdom of the South: in granting the pallium to 
the bishop of Autun he had at least suggested a very special authority 
over the lands of the Gauls: he had claimed that the Roman Church was 
their mother to whom they applied in time of need. If the practical 
result was small; if the Frankish Church maintained a real independence 
of Rome, and Arles never became a papal vicariate ; yet Frankish monks, 
priests, poets, as well as bishops and kings, began to look to Rome as 
patron and guide. Venantius Fortunatus, Columbanus, Gregory of Tours, 
in their different ways, shew how close was the relation of Gregory the 
Great to the religion of the Franks. 

Brighter was the prospect when Gregory turned from the moral 
chaos of Gaul to the growing unity of Spain. The Visigothic race had 
preduced a great warrior in Leovigild, whose power, as king of all the 
Goths, extended from Seville to Nimes. He obtained for his son 
Hermenegild Ingundis the daughter of Brunhild (herself the child of 
Athanagild, Leovigild’s predecessor as Visigothic king) and the Frankish 
king Sigebert. From Gregory’s letters we learn a story of martyrdom 
as to which there is no reason to believe that he was deceived. Ingundis, 
beset by Arian teachers who had obtained influence over Leovigild, not 
naturally a persecutor, a tyrant or a fanatic, remained firm in her faith, 
and when her husband was given rule at Seville she succeeded with the 
aid of his kinsman Leander, bishop of Seville and friend of Gregory, in 
converting him to the Catholic belief. War was the result. Leovigild 
attacked his son, says John of Biclar, for rebellion and tyranny. 
Hermenegild sought the aid of the Catholic Sueves and “ the Greeks ”"— 
the imperial garrisons which had remained since the partial reconquest 
of Spain by Justinian. But Leovigild proved the victor: the Suevic 
kingdom was extinguished, and Hermenegild was thrown into prison. 
Ingundis escaped with the Greeks and died at Carthage on her way to 
Constantinople. ‘“ Hermenegild was killed at Tarragona by Sigisbert ” 
is the simple statement of John of Biclar, Catholic bishop of Gerona. 
Gregory in his Dialogues tells the tale more fully. On Easter Eve 585 
he was offered communion by an Arian bishop, and when he refused to 
receive it at his hands he was murdered by the order of his father. He 
was regarded as a martyr and 13 April was observed throughout all 
Spain. His blood proved the seed of the faith. bcs 

A year later his brother Recared became king and accepted Catholicism. 
“No wonder,” says Gregory, “that he became a preacher of the true faith, 
for his brother was a martyr, by whose merits he is aided in bringing back 
many souls to the bosom of God.” Nor could this have happened had 

cH. VIII. (B) 17—2 

260 Conversion of the Visigoths [589-603 

not Hermenegild the king laid down his life for the truth. So one 
Visigoth died that many might live. In a great synod at Toledo 
Recared abjured Arianism, and in May 589 was summoned the council 
which was to confirm the Catholicism of Spain. Leander preached the 
sermon which concluded the assembly, and reported to the Pope the 
orthodox speech of Recared, the acceptance of the creeds and decisions 
of the four general councils and the enactment of canons to regulate the 
lives and professions of the now Catholic people. Leander’s letter was a 
veritable song of triumph for a victory to civilisation as well as religion, 
and as such Gregory accepted it with delight. In later years the 
Pope corresponded with Recared himself, wisely refraining from mixing 
himself up in the Visigothic relations with Constantinople, where 
Athanagild, son of the martyred Hermenegild, was being brought up, 
but praising him warmly for his devotion, and pointing him, as was his 
wont, for warning and encouragement, to the day of doom which was 
always in his own thoughts. To Leander he wrote frequently to the 
end of his life. He had sent him a pallium, through King Recared, as 
a recognition of ancient custom and of the merits of both king and 
prelate. He advised him, as he advised Augustine, in important matters 
of doctrine and practice. He gave him his Pastoral Care and his 
Moralia: and he remained his friend to the end of his life. At the 
exercise of authority over the Spanish Church Gregory made no 
attempt. He was content to recognise the great miracle, as he called it 
to Recared, of the conversion of a people, and to leave to their kings 
and bishops the direction of their Church. But outside the Gothic 
dominions his letters dealt with a case, in which he believed that 
injustice had been done to a bishop of Malaga, with great explicitness 
and claimed an authority which was judicial and political as well as 
ecclesiastical. If the documents are genuine, as is probable, they shew 
that Gregory was prepared not only to use to the full the powers of the 
Empire, when it was in agreement with him, for the redress of injustice 
in Church as well as State, but to extend by their means the jurisdiction 
and authority of the papal see. But equally clear is it that when he 
did so it was justice he sought to establish, not personal power: Spain 
for a long while remained to a considerable extent apart from the 
general current of life in the Western Church. i 

In June 603 the long agony with which the great Pope had so bravely 
struggled came to an end. The Romans to whom he had devoted his life 
paid no immediate honour to his memory: but a legend in later days, 
based. perhaps on a statement of his archdeacon Peter, attributed to him 
a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and gave rise to his represen- 
tations in art with a dove hovering over his head. His enormous 
energy had bequeathed to the Church a mass of writings which placed him 
among her four great doctors and exercised a powerful influence on the 
theology of the following centuries. For long Gregory was regarded as 

Character and Influence of Gregory 261 

the great Christian philosopher and moralist, the interpreter of Holy 
Scripture, the teacher of the rulers of the Church. His sermons, his 
music, his dogmatic theology and his method of interpretation were for 
long the models which the Western Church followed unquestioningly. 
But the historical importance of his life would be as great as it is 
had he never written a single theological treatise. The influence of 
his career came from his personal character, the intense power of 
the active Christianity which radiated from his sick bed as from his 

Gregory emerges from the darkness of his age as a figure whom men 
can plainly see. His letters reveal him as few other heroes of the 
Middle Age are revealed: hardly any great ecclesiastics save Bernard 
and Becket are so intimately known. We recognise him as a stern 
Roman, hating the barbarians as unclean, despising the Greeks as un- 
worthy of their share in the Empire which had sheltered them with its 
name. He was a passionate advocate of justice between man and man, a 
guardian of men’s rights, a governor set to repress wrong and to preserve 
the stability of the ancient State. He was eminently practical, as a 
builder, an administrator, a philanthropist and a patriot. No doubt his 
fame is due partly to the weakness of his predecessors in the Papacy and 
partly to the insignificance and wickedness that followed. But his 
fame is due still more to the real achievement of his life. He gave 
to the Papacy a policy and a position which were never abandoned 
or lost. 

The primacy of the see of Rome was by him translated into a 
practical system as well as a theory and a creed. His personal character, 
and that passion of his for a justice more righteous even than that of 
the old Roman law, made his claim to hear appeals, to be judge as well 
as arbiter, seem more than tolerable, even natural and inevitable. In the 
decay of old civilisation, when the Empire, East and West, could scarce 
hold its own, there remained in Rome, preserved through all dangers, a 
centre of Christian authority which could exercise, in the person of 
Gregory, wisely, loyally, tactfully, the authority which it claimed. 
Gregory was indeed, as John the Deacon calls him, Argus luminosissimus. 
He could admonish princes, and rebuke tax-gatherers: nothing seemed 
too small or too great for the exactness of his survey. And, after the 
example of all great rulers, he founded a tradition of public service 
which could be passed on even by weak hands and incompetent brains. 
He made Christian Rome a centre of justice. He gave to the Papacy a 
policy of attracting to itself the best in the new nations which were 
struggling for the sovereignty of Italy. If it was impossible for the 
Empire to fight the barbarians, peace must be made with them, and if 
peace, a lasting peace. In any case the Church should be their home, 
and tyranny should be turned into love. This was his ideal for Italian 
and Lombard alike. And his principles, of even-handed justice, of 

cH. vill. (B) 

262 The Work of Gregory 

patriotism, of charity, were the bases on which he endeavoured to erect 
a fabric of papal supremacy. From his letters, as from a storehouse of 
political wisdom, there came in time rules in the Canon Law, and powers 
were claimed far beyond what he had dreamed of. Where he was 
disinterested lesser men were greedy and encroaching: where he strove 
to do justice others tried to make despotic laws. All over the Christian 
world Gregory had taught men to look to the Pope as one who could 
make peace and ensue it. On this foundation the medieval Papacy was 
founded. Not long was it contented so to rest. 



Wir the death of Justinian we enter on a period of transition. 
The magnificent dream of extending the Roman Empire to its ancient 
limits seemed all but realised, for by the campaigns of Belisarius and 
Narses, Africa, Spain and Italy had been recovered. But the triumph 
had crippled the conqueror: already ruinous overdrafts had anticipated 
the resources which might have safeguarded the fruits of victory. Rome 
relaxed her grasp exhausted. ‘Time was ringing out the old and ringing 
in the new. The next century was to fix in broad outlines the bounds 
within which for the future the empire was to be contained. Now, if we 
will, the Roman world becomes Byzantine. The secular struggle with 
Persia ends in the exaltation of the Cross over the worship of the sacred 
fire, the Sassanids fall before the Arab enthusiasts, and in the East 
Constantinople must meet changed conditions and an unexpected foe. 
In the West, while Spain is lost and but a harassed fraction of Italy 
remains, the outstanding fact is the settlement of the Slav tribes in the 
lands south of the Danube and their recognition of the overlordship of 
the Empire. A new Europe and a new Asia are forming: the period 
marks at once a climax and a beginning. A 

During his lifetime Justinian had clothed no colleague with the 
purple, but he had constantly relied upon Justin’s counsel’, and his 
intended succession was indicated by his appointment to the post 
of curopalates. Even on his lonely death-bed the Emperor made no 
sion, but the senators were agreed. It was their secret that Justinian’s 
days were numbered, and they kept it well, prepared to forestall every 
rival. Through the long winter night Justin and his consort Sophia, 
seated at their window, looked over the sea and waited. Before the dawn 
the-message came: the Emperor was dead and the Roman world expected 
anew monarch. The court poet paints Justin’s tears as he refused the 
throne which the senators offered him—Jbo paternas tristis i exsequias, 

1 Nil ille peregit Te (=Justino) sine. Corippus, In Laudem Justint, 1. 140. 

CH. IX. 

264 Accession of Justin IT [565 

regalia signa recuso; the formalities satisfied, he was easily overpersuaded, 
and walked through the silent city to the palace which was closely guarded 
by the household troops under the future emperor Tiberius (14 Nov. 565). 
Later, with the purple over his shoulders and wearing the gems which 
Belisarius had won from the Goths, Justin was raised aloft on the shield 
as the elect of the army; then the Church gave its approval : crowned. 
with the diadem and blessed by the patriarch, he turned to the senate— 
during the old age of his uncle much had been neglected, the treasury 
exhausted and debts unpaid: all Justinian’s thought and care had been 
set upon the world to come: the Empire shall rejoice to find the old 
wrongs righted under Justin’s sway. In the company of Baduarius his 
son-in-law, newly appointed cwropalates, and escorted by the senate, 
the Emperor then entered the circus where gifts were distributed, 
while the populace acclaimed their chosen ruler. The proceedings 
appear to have been carefully planned: Justin met the debts of those 
who had lent money to his uncle, and set free all prisoners. At midday 
he returned to the palace. The last honours to the dead had yet to be 
paid; in solemn procession, with candles burning and the choir of 
virgins answering to the chanting of the priests, the embalmed body of 
Justinian was borne through mourning crowds to its golden sepulchre in 
the church of the Twelve Apostles. Forthwith the city gave itself to 
rejoicing in honour of the Emperor’s accession; amidst greenery and 
decorations, with dance and gaiety, the cloud of Justinian’s gloomy 
closing years was dispelled, while Corippus sang, ‘‘ The world renews its 

The In Laudem Justini of this poet laureate is indeed a document 
of great interest, for it paints the character and policy of Justin as he 
himself wished them to be portrayed. His conception of his imperial 
duty was the ideal of the unbending Roman whom nothing could 
affright. This spirit of exalted self-possession had been shewn at its 
height when the senate was leader of the State, and it was not without a 
definite purpose that the réle of the senate is given marked prominence 
in the poem of Corippus. Unfortunately for this lofty view of the 
Empire’s task and of the obligations of the nobility, it was precisely in 
the excessive power of the corrupt aristocracy that the greatest dangers 
lay. Office was valued as an opportunity for extortion, and riches 
gained at the expense of the commonwealth secured immunity from 
punishment. When all the armies of the Empire were engaged in the 
struggle with Persia, the government was forced to permit the mainte- 
nance in the European provinces of bodies of local troops; this was 
apparently also the case in Egypt, and again and again we see from the 
pages of John of Nikiou that the command of such military force was 
employed as an engine of oppression against helpless provincials. An 
tmscrupulous captain would openly defy law and authority, and had no 
hesitation in pillaging unoffending villagers. While freely admitting 

565-572 | Policy of Justin IT 265 

that these accounts of the condition of affairs in Egypt hardly justify 
inferences as to the character of the administration in other parts 
of the Empire, yet stories related by chroniclers who wrote in the 
capital suggest that elsewhere also the ordinary course of justice was 
powerless to prevent an aristocracy of office from pursuing unchecked its 
own personal advantage. Justin, who scorned to favour either of the 
popular parties amongst the demes, looked to the nobles to maintain his 
high standard—and was disappointed. Similar views underlay all his 
foreign policy: Rome could make no concessions, for concessions were 
unworthy of the mistress of the world before whom all barbarian tribes 
must bow in awe. “We will not purchase peace with gold but win it at 
the sword’s point”: 
Justini nutu gentes et regna tremescunt, 

Omnia terrificat rigidus vigor... 
—Fastus non patimus. 

Here lies the poignant tragedy of his reign. He would have had Rome 
inspired anew with the high ardours of her early prime; and she sank 
helpless under the buffets of her foes. For himself his will was that men 
should write of him: 

Est virtus roburque tibi, praestantior aetas, 
Prudens consilium, stabilis mens, sancta voluntas, 

and yet within a few years his attendants, to stay his frenzied violence, 
were terrifying him, as a nurse her naughty child, with the dread name 
of a border sheikh upon the Arabian frontier. It is in fact of cardinal 
importance to realise that Justin at first shared the faith of Shakespeare’s 
Bastard, “Come the three corners of the world in arms, and we shall shock 

But if this policy were to be realised there must be no internal 
dissension and the theological strife of Justinian’s last years must be set 
at rest. In concert with John, his courtier patriarch’, Justin strove long 
and anxiously for union. John the patrician, on his embassy to Persia, 
was charged with the reconciliation of the Monophysites ; exiled bishops 
were in due course to return to their sees, and Zechariah, archdeacon and 
court physician, drew up an edict which should heal the divisions 
between the friends and foes of the Council of Chalcedon. But the 
fanaticism of the monks at Callinicum defeated John’s diplomacy, and 
the renewed efforts of the Emperor were rendered fruitless when Jacob 
Baradaeus refused to accept an invitation to the capital. Justin’s 
temper could no longer brook opposition, and in the seventh year of his 
reign (571-572) he began in exasperation that fierce persecution of 
the’ Monophysites which is depicted for us by one of the sufferers in 
the pages of John of Ephesus. 

1 Cf, J. Haury, “Johannes Malalas identisch mit dem Patriarchen Johannes 
Scholastikos?” B. Z. rx. (1900), pp. 337-356. 

CH. IX. 

266 Negotiations with Persia [561-566 

Such then were the aims and policy of the new monarch. With the 
haughty pride of a Roman aristocrat, with his ill-timed obstinacy and 
imperious self-will, Justin flung defiance at his enemies ; and he failed to 
make good the challenge. 

Seven days after his accession he gave audience to Targasiz, an Avar 
ambassador, who claimed the annual payment which J ustinian had 
granted. Did they not merit a reward, the envoy argued, for driving 
from Thrace the tribes which had endangered the capital ?—would it 
not indeed be perilous to refuse their request? Plea and threat were alike 
of no avail. Surrounded by the gorgeous pageantry of a court reception, 
Justin offered the barbarians the choice of peace or war: tribute he would 
not pay; it were prodigality to lavish on barbarians the gold which the 
Empire could ill spare. He met their murmurs with immediate action, 
shipped the Avars across the strait to Chalcedon, and only after six months 
dismissed them—three hundred strong—to their homes. For a time 
indeed the Emperor’s proud words appeared to have had their effect, but 
in truth the Avars were busy in Thuringia waging successful war with 
the Frankish Sigebert; their revenge for Rome’s insult was perforce 
postponed, and Justin was free to turn his attention to the East. 

John Comentiolus, who bore to the Persian court the news of 
Justinian’s death and of his nephew’s accession, was given instructions to 
raise the question of Suania. Under the terms of the Fifty Years’ Peace 
which had been concluded between the two empires in 561, Chosroes 
had agreed to evacuate Lazica; the Romans contended that Suania was 
part of Lazica and must also be relinquished. Persia had not admitted 
this construction of the agreement, and the question still remained 
undecided. Suania indeed was in itself of no particular value; its 
importance lay in its strategic situation, for through it the Persians could 
attack the Roman frontier in Colchis. The possession of Suania would 
secure Rome’s position in the east of the Euxine. The embassy was 
detained upon its journey and John found that Saracen tribesmen who 
acknowledged Persia’s overlordship had arrived before him at the court 
of Madain; Justinian had granted them money payments on condition 
that they should not ravage the Roman frontiers, but these payments 
Justin had discontinued, contending that they were originally voluntary 
gifts or that, even if they had been made under a binding engagement, 
the obligation ceased with the death of the giver. The unwisdom of 
the dead, even though he were an emperor, could not bind the living, and 
the days of weakness were now past. The Saracen claims were supported 
by Chosroes, but the matter was allowed to drop, while the Emperor by 
his envoy expressed his strong desire for peace with Persia and for the 
maintenance of the treaty between the two peoples. John casually 
remarked that, if Lazica was evacuated, Suania by right should also 
fall to Rome. The king apparently accepted this view, but professed 
himself bound to refer the question to his ministers. The latter were 

566 | The Saracen Claims 267 

willing to yield the territory for a price, but added conditions so 
humiliating to the Empire that John felt himself unable to accept 
the proposed terms. The king’s counsellors in fact sought by diplo- 
matic delays to force Rome to take action in Suania, so that they 
might then object that the people themselves refused to be subject to 
the Empire. The plan succeeded, and John foolishly entered into cor- 
respondence with the king of Suania. By this intervention Persia had 
secured a subject for negotiation, and now promised that an ambassador 
should be sent to Constantinople to discuss the whole situation. Justin 
disgraced his envoy, and Zich, who, besides bearing the congratulations 
of Persia, was charged with proposals as to Suania, was stopped at 
Nisibis. Justin returned thanks for the greetings of Chosroes, but stated 
that as to any other matters Rome could not admit discussion. On 
Zich’s death Mebodes was sent to Constantinople, and with him came the 
Saracen chiefs for whom he craved audience. Justin shewed himself so 
arbitrary and unapproachable that Mebodes, though abandoning his 
patronage of the Saracens, felt that no course was open to him save to 
ask for his dismissal. The question of Suania was not debated, and 
Ambros, the Arab chieftain, gave orders to his brother Camboses to 
attack Alamoundar, the head of the Saracen tribesmen who were allied 
to Rome. From the detailed account of these negotiations given by 
Menander the reader already traces in Justin’s overbearing and irritable 
temper a loss of mental balance and a wilful self-assertion which is 
almost childish in its unreasoning violence. 

Meanwhile the Emperor could not feel secure so long as his cousin 
Justin, son of the patrician Germanus, was at the head of the forces on 
the Danube, guarding the passes against the Avars; the general was 
banished to Alexandria and there assassinated. It seems probable that 
Justin’s masterful wife was mainly responsible for the murder. About 
the same time Aetherius and Addaeus, senators and patricians, were 
accused of treason and executed (3 Oct. 566°). 

In the West the influence of the quaestor of the palace, Anastasius 
(a native of Africa), would naturally direct the Emperor's attention to 
that province. Through the praefect Thomas, peace was concluded with 
the Berber tribesmen and new forts were erected to repel assaults of the 
barbarians. But these measures were checked? by the outbreak of 

1 There is some doubt as to the precise date of the murder of Justin. Johannes 
Biclarensis assigns it to the same year as the conspiracy of Addaeus and Aetherius 
(i.e. 566, in John’s reckoning=Ann. um. Justini) and Evagrius clearly places it 
before the trial of Addaeus and Aetherius (Evagr. v. 1-3). Theophanes, it would 
appear wrongly, records it (p. 244, 3) under the year 570.—For the prominent 
position occupied by Sophia, cf. Warwick Wroth, Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine 
Coins in the British Museum, London (1908), 1. p. xix. 

2 For three subsequent invasions by the Moors in which one praefect and two 
magistri militum were killed, see Joh. Bicl., M.G.H. Chronica Minora (ed. Mommsen), 
ut. (1894), p. 212, and Diehl, L’ Afrique byzantine, pp. 459-460. 

CH, IX. 

268 War with the Avars [ 565-568 

hostilities in Europe between the Lombards and the Gepids. In the 
war which ensued the Lombards gained the advantage, and the Gepids 
then sought to win the alliance of Justin by the splendour of their 
gifts. Baduarius, commanding in Scythia and Moesia, received orders 
to aid Kunimund, and the Roman forces won a victory over Alboin. 
The latter, looking around for allies in his turn, appealed to Baian, the 
Khagan of the Avars, who had just concluded a peace with Sigebert. 
The Lombards, Alboin urged, were fighting not so much against the 
Gepids as against their ally Justin, who but recently had refused the 
tribute which Justinian had conceded. Avars and Lombards united 
would be irresistible: when Scythia and ‘Thrace were won, the way would 
be open for an attack upon Constantinople. Baian at first declined to 
listen to the Lombard envoys, but he finally agreed to give his assistance 
on condition that he should at once receive one-tenth of all the animals 
belonging to the Lombards, that half the spoil taken should be his, and 
that to him should fall the whole territory of the conquered Gepids. 
The latter were accused before Justin by a Lombard embassy of not 
having kept the promises which had been the price of the Roman 
alliance; this intervention secured the neutrality of the Emperor. 
We know nothing of the struggle save its issue; the Gepids 
were defeated on the Danube and driven from their territory, while 
Kunimund was slain. But his grandson Reptilanis carried the royal 
treasure in safety to Constantinople, while it would seem that the 
Roman troops occupied Sirmium before the Avars could seize the city. 
Justin despatched Vitalian, the interpreter, and Komitas as ambassadors 
to Baian. They were kept in chains while the Avar leader attacked 
Bonus in Sirmium: this city, Baian claimed, was his by right; it had 
been in the hands of the Gepids, and should now devolve upon him as 
spoils of the victory. At the same time he offered conditions of peace 
which were remarkable for their extreme moderation—he only demanded 
a silver plate, some gold and a Scythian toga; he would be disgraced 
before his allies if he went empty-handed away. These terms Bonus and 
the bishop of Sirmium felt that they had no authority to accept without 
the Emperor’s approval. For answer Baian ordered 10,000 Kotrigur 
Huns to cross the Save and ravage Dalmatia, while he himself occupied 
the territory which had formerly belonged to the Gepids. But he was 
not anxious for war, and there followed a succession of attempts at 
negotiation ; the Roman generals on the frontier were ready to grant the 
Avar’s conditions, but the autocrat in the capital held fast to his 
doctrinaire conceptions of that which Rome’s honour would not allow 
her to concede. 'Targitius and Vitalian were sent to Constantinople to 
demand the surrender of Sirmium, the payment to Baian of sums formerly 
received from Justinian by the Kotrigur and Utigur Huns who were 
now tributary to the Avars, and the delivery of the person of Usdibad, 
a Gepid fugitive. The Emperor met the proposals with high-sounding 

568-570 | The Turkish Embassy 269 

words and Bonus was hidden to prepare for war. No success can have 
attended the Roman arms, for in a second embassy 'Targitius added to 
his former demands the payment of arrears by the Empire. Bonus was 
clearly incapable, argued Justin, and Tiberius was accordingly sent to 
arrange terms. After some military successes, it would seem, he con- 
curred with Apsich in a proposal that land should be furnished by the 
Romans for Avar settlement, while sons of Avar chieftains should be 
pledges for the good faith of their fellow-countrymen. Tiberius went to 
Constantinople to urge the acceptance of these terms, but Justin was 
not satisfied: let Baian surrender his own sons as hostages, he retorted, 
and once more despatches to the officers in command ordered vigorous 
and aggressive action. ‘Tiberius returned to be defeated by the Avars, 
and when yet another mission reached the palace, the Emperor realised 
that the honour of Rome must give place to the argument of force. 
Peace was concluded, and the Avars retired (end of 570?). The course 
of the negotiations throws into clear relief the views and aims of Justin, 
while the experience thus gained by Tiberius served to mould his policy 
as emperor. 

For the rest of the reign the East absorbed the whole energy of the 
State. In order to understand clearly the causes which led to the war 
with Persia it is necessary to return to the year 568, when Constantinople 
was visited by an embassy from the Turks. This people, who had only 
recently made their appearance in Western Asia, had some ten years 
before overthrown the nation of the Ephthalites and were now themselves 
the leading power in the vast stretch of country between China and 
Persia. The western Chinese kingdom was at times their tributary, at 
other times their ally; with a vision of the possibilities which their 
geographical position offered they aspired to be the intermediaries 
through whose hands should pass the commerce of West and Kast. 
Naturally enough they first appealed to Persia, but the counsels of a 
renegade Ephthalite prevailed : the Turks were, he urged, a treacherous 
people, it would be an evil day for Persia if she accepted their alliance. 
Dizabul however, Khan of the Western Turks under the suzerainty of 
the great Mo-kan’, only relinquished the project when he discovered that 
the members of a second embassy had been poisoned by Persian treachery. 
Then it was that his counsellor Maniach advised that envoys should 
be sent to the Roman capital, the greatest emporium for the silk 
of China. It was a remarkable proposal; the emperors had often 
sought to open up a route to the East which would be free from 
Persia’s interference—Justinian, for example, had with this object 
entered into relations with the Ethiopian court—but no great success 
had attended their efforts, and now it was a Turk who unfolded a scheme 
whereby the products of Hast and West should pass and repass without 

1 Silziboulos (Sil-Cybul-baya-qayan). 

OH. 1X, 

270 Revolt of Persarmenia [ 568-572 

entering Persian territory, while the Turks drew boundless wealth as the 
middlemen between China and Rome. Obviously such a compact would 
not be acquiesced in by Persia, but Persia was the common foe: Turk 
and Roman must form an offensive and defensive alliance. Rome was 
troubled in her European provinces by the raids of Avar tribes and these 
tribesmen were fugitives from the Turk: Roman and Turk united could 
free the Empire from the scourge. Such was the project. The attitude 
of Rome’s ministers was one of benevolent interest. They desired in- 
formation but were unwilling to commit themselves; an embassy was 
accordingly despatched to assure Dizabul of their friendship, but when 
the Khan set off upon a campaign against Persia, Zemarchus with the 
Roman forces began the long march back to Constantinople’. On the 
journey he was forced to alter his route through fear of Persian ambushes 
in Suania ; suspicions were clearly already aroused and it would seem that 
for a time the negotiations with the Turks were dropped®. More than 
this was needed to induce Chosroes to declare war. 

In 571 Persian Armenia revolted and appealed to the Empire. 
It would seem that Justin had been attempting to force upon his 
Armenian subjects acceptance of the orthodox Chalcedonian doctrine, 
and Chosroes in turn, on the advice of the magi, determined to impose 
the worship of the sacred fire upon the whole of Persarmenia. The 
Surena with 2000 armed horsemen was sent to Dovin with orders to 
establish a fire temple in the city. The Catholicos objected that the 
Armenians, though paying tribute to their Persian overlord, were yet 
free to practise their own religion. The building of the temple was 
however begun in spite of protests, but ten thousand armed Armenians 
implored the Surena to lay the matter before Chosroes, and in face of 
this force he was compelled to withdraw. Meanwhile, it appears, the 
Armenians had secured from Justin a promise that they would be 
welcomed within the boundaries of the Empire, and that religious 
toleration would be granted them. On the return of the Sarems in 
command of 15,000 men with directions to carry into execution the 
original design, 20,000 Armenians scattered the Persian forces and killed 
the Surena, and his severed head was carried to the patrician Justinian 
who was in readiness on the frontier at Theodosiopolis. At the same time 
the Iberians, with their king Gorgenes, went over to the Romans. The 
fugitives were well received; the nobles were given high positions and 
estates, while the Roman province was excused three years’ tribute. 

It was just at this time (571-572) that a new payment to Persia fell 
due under the terms of the peace of 561-562, Chosroes having insisted that 

' The embassy of Zemarchus is dated 572-573 by John of Ephesus, vi. 23 
é The later embassy of Valentinus in 575-576 produced no lasting result. On these 
missions see J. Marquart, ‘* Historische Glossen zu den alttiirkischen Inschriften.” 
Vienna Oriental Journal, x11. (1898), pp. 157-200. ; 

572-575] Justin determines on war with Persia 271 

previous instalments should be paid in advance. Sebocthes arrived 
(probably early in 572) to remind the Emperor of his obligations. In 
the judgment of Chosroes it was to Persia’s present advantage that the 
peace should remain unbroken. The disagreeable question of Suania 
was shelved for the time, and Rome’s claims were quietly ignored. 
Sebocthes preserved a studied silence in relation to the disturbances in 
Armenia and, when Justin mentioned that country, even appeared willing 
to recognise the rights of the Christian inhabitants. On dismissal, how- 
ever, he was warned by the Emperor that if a finger was raised against 
Armenia it would be regarded as a hostile act. Justin indeed seems to 
have been anxious to force Persia to take the aggressive. He chose this 
moment of diplomatic tension to send the magistrianus Julian on a 
mission to Arethas, then reigning in Abyssinia over the Axumite kingdom. 
The envoy persuaded Arethas to break faith with his Persian suzerain, 
to send his merchandise through the country of the Homerites by way of 
the Nile to Egypt and to invade Persian territory. At the head of his 
Saracens the king made a successful foray and dismissed Julian with 
costly gifts and high honour!. Evidently Justin considered that Chosroes 
was only waiting until the Roman gold had been safely received, and that 
he would then declare war on the first favourable opportunity. 

The Emperor determined to strike the first blow. The continuance 
of the peace entailed heavy periodical payments, and throughout his 
reign Justin was consistently opposed to enriching the Empire’s enemies 
at the expense of the national treasury. Though the subsidies paid to 
Persia were to be devoted to the upkeep of the northern forts and the 
guarding of the passes against eastern invaders, it was easy for any 
unkindly critic to represent them as tribute paid by Rome to her rival. 
Again Justin had welcomed the Turkish overtures: the power which had 
overthrown the Ephthalites would, he thought, be a formidable ally in 
the coming struggle. Further, through the mistakes in diplomacy of his 
own envoy, Suania had remained subject to Chosroes, and it was now 
additionally necessary that the country should belong to the Empire, 
since Persian ambushes rendered insecure the trade route to Turkish 
territory from which so much was hoped. But above all the capital had 
been deeply stirred by the oppression of the Armenians: Justin was 
resolved to champion their cause and, as a Christian monarch, to challenge 
the persecutor in their defence. When the ambassadors of the Frankish 
Sigebert returned to Gaul early in 575 they were full of the sufferings of 
the Armenians; it was to this cause, they told Gregory of Tours, that 
the war with Persia was due. 

1 This invasion is assigned by Theophanes (244-245) to the year 572. On this 
account cf. G. Hertzsch, De Scriptoribus Rerum Imp. Tiberii Constantini (Leipsic, 
1882), p. 38. 

2 Cf. the story in John of Ephesus, v1. 23. 

CH. IX. 

272 The Fall of Dara [569-574 

The decisive step was taken in the late summer of 572 when, without 
warning, Marcianus?, a first cousin of the Emperor on his mother’s side, 
invaded Arzanene. Justin had given orders for an immediate attack on 
Nisibis, but precious time was wasted in fruitless negotiations with the 
Persian marzpan, while Chosroes was informed of the danger, Nisibis 
victualled and the Christians expelled. Very early in 573 Marcianus, at 
the head of troops raised from Rome’s Caucasian allies, won some slight 
successes, but despatches from the capital insisted on the immediate 
investment of Nisibis; the army encamped before the city at the end 
of April 573. The Emperor however, suspecting his cousin’s loyalty, 
appointed Acacius Archelaus? as his successor. Although Nisibis was 
about to capitulate, the new commander on his arrival brutally over- 
threw the tent and standard of Marcianus, while the general himself with 
rude violence was hurried away to Dara. The army, thinking itself 
deserted, fled in wild confusion to Mardes, while Chosroes, who had 
hastened to relieve Nisibis, now advanced to besiege Dara. At the same 
time Adarmaanes marched into the defenceless province of Syria, captured 
Antioch, Apamea and other towns, and rejoined Chosroes with a train 
of 292,000 prisoners. After an investment of more than five months, on 
15 Nov. 573, Dara fell through the negligence or treachery, men said, 
of John, son of Timostratus. ‘The city had been regarded as impreg- 
nable; men seeking security in troublous times had made it the treasure 
house of the Roman East, and the booty of the victors was immense. 

On the news of this terrible disaster Justin ordered the shops to be shut 
and all trade to cease in the capital; he himself never recovered from the 
shock, but became a hopeless and violent imbecile. It seems that for five 
years (presumably since 569) Justin had been ailing and suffering from 
occasional mental weakness, but it was now clear that he was quite in- 
capable of managing the Empire’s affairs. Through the year 574 the 
Empress in concert with Tiberius, the comes excubitorum, carried on the 
government. 'They were faced with a difficult problem: Rome had been 
the aggressor, could she be the first to propose terms of peace? Persia 
however intervened, and sent a certain Jakobos, who knew both Greek and 
Persian, to conclude a treaty. Rome, Chosroes argued, could not be 
further humbled: she must accept the victor’s conditions. The letter 
was sent to the Empress owing to Justin’s incapacity, and it was her 
reply that Zacharias bore to the Persian court*. Rome would pay 
45,000 nomismata (metal value about £25,000) to secure peace for 
a year in the East, though Armenia was not included in this arrange- 
ment. If the Emperor recovered, a plenipotentiary should be sent to 

1 Called Martinus in Theoph. 245, 25. 

* Theophanes of Byzantium is mistaken in thinking that the new commander was 
Theodore, the son of Justinian. 

; * Evagrius v. 12 (p. 208) must be regarded as a confusion with the later embassy 
of a.p. 575. ; 

574 | Policy of Tiberius II 273 

determine all matters in dispute and to end the war. But Justin did 
not recover, and by the masterful will of the Empress, Tiberius was 
adopted as the Emperor’s son and created Caesar in the presence of the 
patriarch John and of the officials of the Court (Friday, 7 Dec. 574). 
It was a scene which deeply impressed the imagination of contemporary 
historians. Justin in a pathetic speech confessed with sincere contrition 
his failure, and in this brief interval of unclouded mental vision warned 
his successor of the dangers which surrounded the throne. 

Tiberius, his position now established, at once busied himself with 
the work of reorganisation. His assumption of power marks a change 
of policy which is of the highest importance. The new Caesar, himself 
by birth a Thracian, had seen service on the Danube, and realised that 
from the military standpoint the intransigeant imperialism of Justin 
was too heroic an ideal for the exhausted Empire. Years before he had 
approved of terms of peace which would have given the Avars land on 
which to settle within Rome’s frontiers. Greek influence was every- 
where on the increase; at all costs it was the Greek-speaking Asiatic 
provinces which must be defended and retained. Persia was the formid- 
able foe and it was her rivalry which was the dominating factor in the 
situation. Tiberius had indeed with practical insight comprehended 
Rome’s true policy. Syrian chroniclers of a later day rightly appreciated 
this: to them Tiberius stands at the head of a new imperial line, they 
know him as the first of the Greek emperors. But if in his view the 
Empire, though maintaining its hold on such bulwark cities as Sirmium, 
was in the future to place no longer its chief reliance on those European 
provinces from which he had himself sprung, the administration must 
scrupulously abstain from arousing the hostility of the eastern nationali- 
ties: religious persecution must cease and it must be unnecessary for his 
subjects to seek under a foreign domination a wider tolerance and a more 
spacious freedom for the profession of their own faith. The Monophysites 
gratefully acknowledged that during his reign they found in the Emperor 
a champion against their ecclesiastical oppressors. ‘This was not all: 
there are hints in our authorities which suggest that he regarded as ill- 
timed the aristocratic sympathies of Justin, and strove to increase the 
authority of the popular elements in the State. It is possible that 
the demesmen, suppressed by Justinian after the Nika sedition and 
cowed by Justin, owed to the policy of Tiberius some of the influence 
which they exercised towards the close of the reign of Maurice. Even at 
the risk of what might be judged financial improvidence, the autocrat 
must strive to win the esteem, if not the affection, of his subjects. 
Tiberius forthwith remitted a year’s taxation and endeavoured to restore 
the ravages which Adarmaanes had inflicted on Syria. At the same 
time he began to remodel the army, attracting to the service of the 
State sturdy barbarian soldiers wherever such could be found. 

1 Js not Theophanes 251, 24 really summarising the Persian war as carried on by 

C. MED. H. VOL, Hi. CH. IX. 18 

274 The Persian Flight from Melitene [575-577 

Obviously the immediate question was the state of affairs in the 
East. In the spring of 575 Tiberius sent ‘Trajan, quaestor and 
physician, with the former envoy Zacharias to obtain a cessation of 
hostilities for three years both in the East and Armenia; if that was not 
possible, then in the East excluding Armenia. Persia however insisted 
that no truce could be granted for any less period than five years, 
and the ambassadors therefore consented, subject to the approval of the 
Emperor, to accept a truce of five years in the East alone, Rome under- 
taking to pay annually 30,000 gold nomismata. ‘These terms Tiberius 
rejected: he wanted a truce for two years if possible, but in no event 
would he accept an agreement which would tie his hands for more than 
three years: by that time he hoped to be able successfully to withstand 
Persia in the field. At last Chosroes agreed to a three years’ treaty 
which was only to affect the East and was not to include Armenia. 
Meanwhile, before the result of the negotiations was known, Justinian, 
son of the murdered Justin, was appointed general of the East. Early 
in the summer, however, Chosroes with unexpected energy marched 
north and invaded Armenia; Persarmenia returned to its allegiance, 
and by way of the canton of Bagrevand he advanced into the Roman 
province and encamped before Theodosiopolis. This city, the key of 
Persarmenia and Iberia, he resolved to capture, and thence to proceed 
to Caesarea, the metropolis of Cappadocia. The siege, however, was 
soon abandoned, and near Sebaste the Persians met the Roman 
army under Justinian, who had now assumed command in Armenia. 
Personal jealousies paralysed the action of the imperial troops, and 
the enemy was thus able to capture and burn Melitene. Then 
the fortune of war turned. Chosroes was forced to flee across the 
Euphrates and, with the Romans in hot pursuit, only escaped with 
great loss over the mountains of Karcha. Justinian followed up this 
advantage by spending the winter on Persian soil. His troops pillaged 
and plundered unchecked, and in the spring of 576 he took up his 
position on the frontier. 

The shame of the flight from Melitene was a severe shock to Persian 
pride, and there seemed every prospect that now at last peace would be 
concluded. At Athraelon, near Dara, Mebodes met Rome’s envoys John 
and Peter, patricians and senators, together with Zacharias and Theodore, 
count of the treasury. During the negotiations however Tamchosro 
defeated Justinian in Armenia (576). Elated by this victory, the 
Persians withdrew the concessions which they had already made. _ Still 
all through the years 576-577 the plenipotentiaries discussed terms; two 
points stood in the way of a final settlement: Persia claimed the right 

Tiberius If and does not es 8voua tSiov =his position was now legalised, and as 

Caesar he could raise troops in his own name? Finlay sees in the passage the 
creation of a troop of Buccellarii. 

577-581 | Accession of Tiberius IT 275 

to punish those Armenian fugitives who in 571 had fled to the Empire, 
and these Rome absolutely declined to surrender, while Chosroes in turn 
persisted in his refusal to consider the cession of Dara which 'Tiberius 
demanded. In 578, when the three years’ truce had all but expired, 
a new embassy headed by Trajan and Zacharias began the task 

Meanwhile, in 578, to put a stop to the mutual dissensions of the 
Roman generals Tiberius appointed as commander-in-chief of the eastern 
troops Maurice, a Cappadocian of Arabissus, descended, it was said, from 
the aristocracy of old Rome’, who had formerly served as the Emperor’s 
notarius and whom, on becoming Caesar, he had created comes excubitorum. 
With the means supplied to him by Tiberius, Maurice at once began to 
raise a formidable army ; he enrolled men from his own native country, 
and enlisted recruits from Syria, Iberia, and the province of Hanzit. 
With these forces he successfully invaded Arzanene, captured the strong 
fortress of Aphoumon, and carried back with him thousands of Persians 
and much spoil. 

In the autumn of this year (578) Justin, who had temporarily 
recovered his reason, crowned Tiberius Emperor (26 Sept.) and eight days 
later, on 4 Oct., his troubled life was ended. 

Tiberius now as ever sought military triumphs only as a means to 
diplomatic ends. In consequence of the victories of the summer he had 
in his hands numerous important captives, some of them even connexions 
of the royal house. He at once despatched Zacharias and a general, 
Theodore by name, giving them full powers to conclude peace and 
offering to return the prisoners of war. The Emperor professed himself 
prepared to surrender Iberia and Persarmenia (but not those refugees 
who had fled to the shelter of the Empire), to evacuate Arzanene and 
to restore the fortress of Aphoumon, while in return Dara was to be given 
back to the Empire. ‘Tiberius was desirous of arriving at a speedy 
agreement, so that the enemy might not gain time for collecting rein- 
forcements. Despite the delay of a counter mission from Persia there 
was every prospect that Rome’s conditions would be accepted, when in 
the early spring of 579 Chosroes died and was succeeded on the throne 
by Ormizd. Though the Emperor was willing to offer the same terms, 
Ormizd procrastinated, while making every effort to provision Dara 
and Nisibis and to raise fresh levies. At length he definitely refused to 
surrender Dara and stipulated anew for an annual money payment 
(summer, 579). The military and diplomatic operations of the years 
579-581, though interesting enough in themselves, did not really alter 
the general position of affairs. i 

Thus inconclusively dragged on the long hostilities between the rival 
powers in the East, but in Europe the Avars had grown discontented 

1 A later tradition connects him with Armenia: cf. B. Z. x1x. (1910), p. 549. 

OH ix 152 

276 Surrender of Sirmium [ 580-582 

with the Empire’s subsidies. Targitius was sent in 580 to receive the 
tribute, but immediately after the envoy’s departure Baian started with 
his rude flotilla down the Danube and, marching over the neck of 
country between that river and the Save, appeared before Sirmium and 
there began to construct a bridge. When the Roman general in 
the neighbouring fortress of Singidunum protested at this violation of 
the peace the Khagan claimed that his sole aim was to cross the Save in 
order to march through the territory of the Empire, recross the Danube 
with the help of the Roman fleet, and thus attack the common enemy, 
the Slav invaders, who had refused to render to the Avars their annual 
tribute. Sirmium was without stores of provisions and had no effective 
garrison. Tiberius had relied upon the continuance of the peace and all 
his available troops were in Armenia and Mesopotamia. When Baian’s 
ambassador arrived in the capital, the Emperor could only temporise : 
he himself was preparing an expedition against the Slavs, but for the 
present he would suggest that the moment was ill-chosen for a campaign, 
since the Turks were occupying the Chersonese (Bosporos had fallen into 
their hands in 576) and might shortly advance westward. ‘The Avar 
envoy was not slow to appreciate the true position, but on the return 
journey he and the attendant Romans were slain by a band of Slav 
pillagers—this fact casually mentioned gives us some idea of the con- 
dition at this time of the open country-side in the Danubian provinces. 
Meanwhile Baian had been pressing forward the building of the bridge 
over the Save, and Solachos, the new Avar ambassador, now threw off 
the mask and demanded the evacuation of Sirmium. “I would sooner 
give your master,” Tiberius replied, “one of my two daughters to wife 
than I would of my own free will surrender Sirmium.” The Danube 
and the Save were held by the enemy, and the Emperor had no army, 
but through Illyria and Dalmatia officers were sent to conduct the 
defence. On the islands of Casia and Carbonaria Theognis met the 
Khagan, but negotiations were fruitless. For two years, despite fearful 
hardships, the city resisted, but the governor was incompetent, and the 
troops under Theognis inadequate, and at last, some short time before his 
death, Tiberius, to save the citizens, sacrificed Sirmium. The inhabitants 
were granted life, but all their possessions were left in the hands of the 
barbarians, who also exacted the sum of 240,000 nomismata as payment 
for the three years’ arrears (580-582) due under the terms of the former 
agreement which was still to remain in force. 

It was during the investment of Sirmium that the Slavs seized their 
golden hour. They poured over Thrace and Thessaly, scouring the 
Roman provinces as far as the Long Walls—a flood of murder and of 
ravage: the black horror of their onset still darkens the pages of John 
of Ephesus. 

In the year which saw the fall of Sirmium (582) Tiberius died. Feeling 
that his end was near, on 5 Aug. he created Maurice Caesar and gave 

582-586 | | Accession of Maurice 277 

to him the name of Tiberius?; at the same time the Emperor's elder 
daughter was named Constantina and betrothed to Maurice. Fight 
days later, before an assemblage of representatives of army, church and 
people, Tiberius crowned the Caesar Emperor (13 Aug.) and on 14 Aug. 
582, in the palace of the Hebdomon, he breathed his last. The marriage 
of Maurice followed hard on the funeral of his father-in-law. We would 
gladly have learned more of the policy and aims of Tiberius. We can 
but dimly divine in him a practical statesman who with sure prescience 
had seen what was possible of achievement and where the Empire’s true 
future lay. He fought not for conquest but for peace, he struggled to 
win from Persia a recognition that Rome was her peer, that on a basis of 
security the Empire might work out its internal union and concentrate 
its strength around the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. ‘The 
sins of men,” says the chronicler, “'were the reason for his short reign. 
Men were not worthy of so good an emperor.” 

“Make your rule my fairest epitaph” were the words of Tiberius 
to Maurice, and the new monarch undertook his task in a spirit of high 
seriousness. At his accession Maurice appointed John Mystakon com- 
mander-in-chief of the eastern armies, and this position he held until 
584, when he was superseded by Philippicus, the Emperor’s brother-in- 
law. The details of the military operations during the years 582-585 
cannot be given here it may be sufficient to state that their general 
result was indecisive—-most of the time was spent in the capture or 
defence of isolated fortresses or in raids upon the enemy’s territory’. 
No pitched battle of any importance occurred till 586. Philippicus 
had met Mebodes at Amida in order to discuss terms of peace, but 
Persia had demanded a money payment, and such a condition Maurice 
would not accept. The Roman general, finding that negotiations were 
useless, led his forces to Mount Izala, and at Solochon the armies engaged. 
The Persians were led by Kardarigan, while Mebodes commanded on 
the right wing and Aphraates, a cousin of Kardarigan, on the left. 
Philippicus was persuaded not to adventure his life in the forefront of the 
battle, so that the Roman centre was entrusted to Heraclius, the father of 
the future emperor. Vitalius faced Aphraates, while Wilfred, the praefect 
of Emesa, and Apsich the Hun opposed Mebodes. On a Sunday morning 
the engagement began: the right wing routed Aphraates, but was with 

1 It would seem that Germanus was also created Caesar but declined the responsi- 
bilities which Maurice was prepared to assume. 

2 A short chronological note may however be of service. 582, autumn: John 
Mystakon commander-in-chief in Armenia: Roman success on Nymphius turned 
into a rout through jealousy of Kours. 583: Capture of fort of Akbas, near 
Martyropolis, by Rome. Peace negotiations between Rome and Persia. 584 : 
Marriage of Philippicus to Gordia, sister of Maurice: Philippicus appointed to 
succeed John in the East. He fortifies Monokarton and ravages country round 
Nisibis. 585: Philippicus ill: retires to Martyropolis. Stephanus and the Hun 
Apsich successfully defend Monokarton. 

CH. IX. 

278 Mutiny of the Eastern Army [ 586-588 

difficulty recalled from its capture of the Persian baggage; the defeated 
troops now strengthened the enemy’s centre and some of the Roman 
horse were forced to dismount to steady the ranks under Heraclius. 
But during a desperate hand-to-hand struggle the cavalry charged 
the Persians and the day was won: the left wing pursued the troops 
under Mebodes as far as Dara. Philippicus then began the siege of 
the fortress of Chlomara, but his position was turned by the forces under 
Kardarigan ; a sudden panic seized the Roman commander, who fled 
precipitately under cover of night to Aphoumon. The enemy, suspecting 
treachery, advanced with caution, but encountered no resistance, while the 
seizure of the Roman baggage-train relieved them from threatened 
starvation. Across the Nymphius by Amida to Mount Izala Philippicus 
retreated : here the forts were strengthened and the command given to 
Heraclius, who in late autumn led a pillaging expedition across the Tigris. 

The flight of Philippicus may well have been due, at least in part, to 
a fresh attack of illness, for in 587 he was unable to take the field, and 
when he started for the capital, Heraclius was left as commander in the 
East and at once began to restore order and discipline among the Roman 

Maurice’s well-intentioned passion for economy had led him to issue 
an order that the soldiers’ pay should be reduced by a quarter; Philippicus 
clearly felt that this was a highly dangerous and inexpedient measure— 
the army’s anger might lead to the proclamation of a rival emperor; he 
delayed the publication of the edict, and it was probably with a view of 
explaining the whole situation to his master that, despite his illness, he 
set out for Constantinople. On his journey, however, he learned that he 
had been superseded and that Priscus had been appointed commander- 
in-chief. If Maurice had ceased to trust his brother-in-law let the new 
general do what he could: Philippicus would no longer stay his hand. 
From Tarsus he ordered Heraclius to leave the army in the hands of 
Narses, governor of Constantina, and himself to retire to Armenia; he 
further directed the publication of the fatal edict. 

Early in 588 Priscus arrived in Antioch. 'The Roman forces were to 
concentrate in Monokarton; and from Edessa he made his way,accompanied 
by the bishop of Damascus, towards the camp with the view of celebrating 
Easter amongst his men. But when the troops came forth to meet him, 
his haughtiness and failure to observe the customary military usages 
disgusted the army and at this critical moment a report spread that their 
pay was to be reduced. A mutiny forced Priscus to take refuge in 
Constantina, and the fears of Philippicus proved well founded. Ger- 
manus, commander in the Lebanon district of Phoenicia, was against his 
own will proclaimed emperor, though he exacted an oath that the 
soldiers would not plunder the luckless provincials. A riot at Constantina, 
where the Emperor’s statues were overthrown, drove the fugitive Priscus 
to Edessa, and thence he was hounded forth to seek shelter in the capital. 

588—590 | Fall of Martyropolis 279 

Maurice’s only course was to reappoint Philippicustothesupreme command 
in the Kast, but the army, which had elected its own officers, was not to 
be thus easily pacified: the troops solemnly swore that they would never 
receive the nominee of an emperor whom they no longer acknowledged. 
Meanwhile, as was but natural, Persia seized her opportunity and invested 
Constantina, but Germanus prevailed upon his men to take action and 
the city was relieved. The soldiers’ resentment was lessened by the 
skilful diplomacy of Aristobulus, who brought gifts from Constantinople, 
and Germanus was able to invade Persia with a force of 4000 men. 
Though checked by Marouzas, he retired in safety to the Nymphius, and 
at Martyropolis Marouzas was defeated and killed by the united Roman 
forces: three thousand captives were taken, among them many prominent 
Persians, while the spoils and standards were sent to Maurice. This was 
the signal that the army was once more prepared to acknowledge the 
Emperor, and all would have been well had not Maurice felt it necessary 
to insist that Philippicus should again be accepted by the troops as their 
general. This however they refused to do, even when Andreas, captain 
of the imperial shield-bearers, was sent to them; and only after a year’s 
cessation of hostilities (588-589) was the army, through the personal 
influence of Gregory, bishop of Antioch, persuaded to obey its former 
commander (Easter 590). Philippicus did not long enjoy his triumph. 
About this time Martyropolis fell by treachery into Persian hands, and 
with the spring of 590! the Roman forces marched into Armenia to 
recover the city. When he failed in this Philippicus was superseded by 
Comentiolus, and although the latter was unsuccessful, Heraclius won 
a brilliant victory and captured the enemy’s camp. 

It is at first sight somewhat surprising that the Persians had remained 
inactive during the year 589, but we know that they were fully engaged 
with internal difficulties. 'The violence of Ormizd had, it seems, caused 
a dangerous revolt in Kusistan and Kerman, and in face of this peril 
Persia accepted an offer of help from the Turks. Once admitted into 
Khorasan, Schaweh Schah disregarded his promises and advanced south- 
wards in the direction of the capital, but was met by Bahram Cobin, the 
governor of Media, and was defeated in the mountains of Ghilan. The 
power of the Turks was broken: they could no longer exact, but were 
bound to pay, an annual tribute. After this signal success Bahram 
Cobin undertook an invasion of Roman territory in the Caucasus district; 
the Persians encountered no resistance, for the imperial forces were con- 
centrated in Armenia. Maurice sent Romanus to engage the enemy in 
Albania, and in the valley of one of the streams flowing into the Araxes 
Bahram was so severely worsted that he was in consequence removed 
from’ his command by Ormizd. 'Thus disgraced he determined to seize the 

1 This is not the usually accepted chronology. The present writer hopes shortly 
to support the view here taken in a paper on the literary construction of the history 

of Theophylactus Simocatta. 

CH. IX. 

280 Chosroes restored by Maurice [591-600 

crown for himself but veiled his real plan under the pretext of champion- 
ing the cause of Chosroes, Ormizd’s eldest son’. At the same time a plot 
was formed in the palace, and Bahram was forestalled : the conspirators 
dethroned the king and Chosroes was crowned at Ctesiphon. But after 
the assassination of Ormizd the new monarch was unable to maintain 
his position: his troops deserted to Bahram, and he was forced to throw 
himself upon the mercy of the Emperor. As a helpless fugitive the 
King of kings arrived at Circesium and craved Rome’s protection, offer- 
ing in return to restore the lost Armenian provinces and to surrender 
Martyropolis and Dara. Despite the counsels of the senate, Maurice 
saw in this strange reversal of fortune a chance to terminate a war which 
was draining the Empire’s strength: his resolve to accede to his enemy's 
request was at once a courageous and a statesmanlike action. He 
furnished Chosroes with men and money, Narses took command of the 
troops and John Mystakon marched from Armenia to join the army. 
The two forces met at Sargana (probably Sirgan, in the plain of Ushnei’*) 
and in the neighbourhood of Ganzaca (Takhti-Soleiman) defeated and 
put to flight Bahram, while Chosroes recovered his throne without further 
resistance. The new monarch kept his promises to Rome and surrounded 
himself with a Roman body-guard (591). By this interposition Maurice 
had restored the Empire’s frontier? and had ended the long-drawn struggle 
in the East. 

In 592 therefore he could transport his army into Europe, and was able 
to employ his whole military force in the Danubian provinces. Maurice 
himself went with the troops as far as Anchialus, when he was recalled 
by the presence of a Persian embassy in the capital. The chronology of 
the next few years is confused and it is impossible to give here a detailed 
account of the campaigns. Their general object was to maintain the 
Danube as the frontier line against the Avars and to restrict the forays 
of the Slavs. In this Priscus met with considerable success, but Peter, 
Maurice’s brother, who superseded him in 597, displayed hopeless 
incompetency and Priscus was reappointed‘: In 600 Comentiolus. 
who was, it would appear, in command against his own will, entered 
into communications with the Khagan in order to secure the dis- 
comfiture of the Roman forces: he was, in fact, anxious to prove that 
the attempt to defend the northern frontier was labour lost. He 
ultimately fled headlong to the capital and only the personal inter- 
ference of the Emperor stifled the inquiry into his treachery. On this 

* There seems no sufficient evidence for the theory that Bahram Cobin relied on 
a legitimist claim as representing the prae-Sassanid dynasty. 

? See H. C. Rawlinson, “ Memoir on the site of the Atropatenian Ecbatana,” 
Journal of the Royal Geographical Society (1840), pp. 71 ff. 

* See maps by H. Hiibschmann in “ Die altarmenischen Ortsnamen,” Indoger- 
manische Forschungen, xvi. (1904), and in Gelzer’s Georgius Cyprius. 

* Por the siege of Thessalonica in this year, cf. Wroth, op. cit. 1. p. xxi. 

600-602 | Campaigns on the Danube Frontier 281 

occasion the panic in Constantinople was such that the city guard—the 
57 401.—were sent by Maurice to man the Long Walls?. 

On the return of Comentiolus to the seat of war in the summer of 600, 
Priscus, in spite of his colleague’s inactivity, won a considerable victory, 
but the autumn of 601 saw Peter once again in command and conducting 
unsuccessful negotiations for a peace. Towards the close of 602 the 
outlook was brighter, for conditions had changed in favour of Rome. 
The Antae had acted as her allies, and when Apsich was sent by the 
Khagan to punish this defection, numbers of the Avars themselves deserted 
and joined the forces under Peter. Maurice would seem to have thought 
that this was the moment to drive home the advantage which fortune 
offered, for if the soldiers could support themselves at the expense of the 
enemy, the harassed provincials and the overburdened exchequer might 
be spared the cost of their maintenance. Orders were sent that the 
troops were not to return, but should winter beyond the Danube. The 
army heard the news with consternation: barbarian tribes were ranging 
over the country on the further side of the river, the cavalry was worn 
out with the marches of the summer, their booty would purchase them 
the pleasures of civilised life. The Roman forces mutinied and, dis- 
obeying their superiors, crossed the river and reached Palastolum. 

Peter withdrew from the camp in despair, but meanwhile the 
officers had induced their men to face the barbarians once again, and the 
army had returned to Securisca (near Nikopol). Floods of rain, however, 
and extreme cold renewed the discontent; eight spokesmen, among whom 
was Phocas, covered the twenty miles between Peter and the camp and 
demanded that the army might return home to winter quarters. ‘The 
commander-in-chief promised to give his answer on the following day : 
between the rebellious determination of the troops and the imperative 
despatches of his brother he could see no loophole of escape; of one 
thing alone he was assured: that day would start a train of ills 
for Rome. ‘True to his promise he joined his men and to their repre- 
sentatives he read the Emperor’s letter. Before the tempest of opposition 
which this evoked the officers fled, and on the following day, when the 
soldiers had twice assembled to discuss the situation, Phocas was raised 
upon a shield and declared their leader. Peter carried the news with all 
speed to the capital; Maurice disguised his fears and reviewed the troops 
of the demes. The Blues, on whose support he relied, numbered 900, 
the Greens 1500. On the refusal of Phocas to receive the Emperor's 
ambassadors, the demesmen were ordered to man the city walls. 
Phocas had been chosen as champion of the army, not as emperor: the 
army had refused allegiance to Maurice personally but not to his house ; 

1 Tt seems probable that in some source hostile to Maurice the treachery of 
Comentiolus was transferred to the Emperor himself and to this was added the story 
of the failure to ransom the prisoners. The basis of fact from which the story sprang 
may perhaps be discerned in Theophylact, e.g. p. 247, 18 (edn. de Boor). 

CH. IX. 

282 Death of Maurice [ 602 

accordingly the vacant throne was offered to Theodosius, the Emperor’s 
eldest son, or, should he decline it, to his father-in-law Germanus, both 
of whom were hunting at the time in the neighbourhood of the capital. 
They were at once recalled to Constantinople. Germanus, realising that 
he was suspected of treason, armed his followers and surrounded by a 
body-guard took refuge in the Cathedral Church. He had won the 
sympathies of the populace, and when the Emperor attempted to remove 
him by force from St Sophia, riots broke out in the city, while the troops 
of the demes deserted their posts on the walls to join in the abuse of 
Emperor and patriarch. Maurice was denounced as a Marcianist and 
ribald songs were shouted against him through the streets. The house 
of the praetorian praefect, Constantine Lardys, was burned to the ground, 
and at the dead of night, with his wife and children, accompanied by 
Constantine, the Emperor, disguised as a private citizen, embarked for 
Asia (22 Nov. 602). A storm carried him out of his course and he only 
landed with difficulty at the shrine of Autonomus the Martyr; here an 
attack of gout held him prisoner, while the praetorian praefect was 
despatched with Theodosius to enlist the sympathy of Chosroes on 
behalf of his benefactor. The Emperor fled, the Greens determined to 
espouse the cause of Phocas and rejected the overtures of Germanus, who 
now made a bid for the crown and was prepared to purchase their 
support; they feared that, once his end was gained, his well-known 
partiality for the Blues would reassert itself. The disappointed candidate 
was driven to acknowledge his rival’s claims. Phocas was invited to the 
Hebdomon (Makrikeui) and thither trooped out the citizens, the senate, 
and the patriarch. In the church of St John the Baptist the rude half- 
barbarian centurion was crowned sovereign of the Roman Empire, and 
entered the capital ‘in a golden shower” of royal gifts. 

But the usurper could not rest while Maurice was alive. On the day 
following the coronation of his wife Leontia, upon the Asian shore at 
the harbour of Eutropius five sons of the fallen Emperor were slain 
before their father’s eyes, and then Maurice himself perished, calling upon 
God and repeating many times “ Just art thou, O Lord, and just is thy 
judgment.” From the beach men saw the bodies floating on the waters 
of the bay, while Lilius brought back to the capital the severed heads, 
where they were exposed to public view. 

Maurice was a realist who suffered from an obstinate prejudice in 
favour of his own projects and his own nominees; he could diagnose the 
ills from which the Empire suffered, but did not always choose aright the 
moment for administering the remedy. He had served astern apprentice- 
ship in the eastern wars, and saw clearly that while Rome in many of 
her provinces was fighting for existence, the importance of the leader of 
armies outweighed that of the civil governor. In some temporary 
instances Justinian had entrusted to the praefect the duties of a general, 
and had thus broken through the sharp distinction between the two 

602 | Character and Rule of Maurice 283 

spheres drawn by the Diocletio-Constantinian reforms. Maurice however 
did not follow the principle of Justinian’s tentative innovations : he chose 
to give to the military commander a position in the hierarchy of office 
superior to that of the civil administration, conferring on the old 
magistrt militum of Africa and Italy the newly coined title of exarch: 
this supreme authority was to be the Emperor’s vicegerent against Berber 
and Lombard. It was the first step towards the creation of the system 
of military themes’. It was doubtless also considerations of practical 
convenience and a recognition of the stubborn logic of facts which led to 
Maurice’s scheme of provincial redistribution. Tripolitana was separated 
from Africa and joined like its neighbour Cyrenaica to the diocese of 
Egypt; Sitifensis and Caesariensis were fused into the single province of 
Mauretania Prima, while the fortress of Septum and the sorry remnants 
of 'Tingitana were united with the imperial possessions in Spain and the 
Balearic Isles to form the province of Mauretania II, thus solidifying under 
one government the scattered Roman territories in the extreme West. 
Similar motives probably determined the new arrangements (after the 
treaty with Persia in 591) on the Eastern frontier. It was again Maurice 
the realist who disregarded the counsels of his ministers and made full use or 
the unique opportunity which the flight of Chosroes offered to the Empire. 

In Italy the incursion of the Lombards presented a problem with 
which the wars on the Danube and in Asia rendered it difficult for 
Maurice to cope. Frankish promises of help against the invaders were 
largely illusory, even though the young West-Gothic prince Athanagild 
was held in Constantinople as a pledge for the fulfilment by his Mero- 
vingian kinsfolk of their obligations. It was further unfortunate that 
the relations between Pope and Emperor were none of the best; many 
small disagreements culminated in the dispute concerning the title 
of oecumenical patriarch which John the Faster had adopted. The 
contention between Gregory and Maurice has certainly been given a 
factitious importance by later historians—the over-sensitive Gregory 
alone seems to have regarded the question as of any vital moment and 
his successors quietly acquiesced in the use of the offending word—but 
the disagreement doubtless hampered the Emperor’s reforms ; when he 
endeavoured to prevent soldiers from deserting and retiring into 
monasteries, the Pope seized on the measure as a new ground of com- 
plaint and raised violent protest in the name of the Church. 

As general in Asia Maurice had restored the morale of the army, and 
throughout his life he was always anxious to effect improvements in 
military matters. He was the first Emperor to realise fully the im- 
portance of Armenia as a recruiting ground’, and it may well be from 

1 See Ch. xu. : 
2 When an Emperor is at great cost transporting men from Armenia to the 
Danube provinces, is the story probable that he sacrificed thousands of prisoners of 

war through refusal to pay to the Khagan their ransom ? 

CH. IX. 

284 Phocas [ 602-603 

this fact that late tradition traced his descent from that country. It 
was just in this sphere of military reform, however, that he displayed his 
fatal inability to judge the time when he could safely insist on an 
unpopular measure; his demand that the army should winter beyond 
the Danube cost him alike throne and life. It was further an all-advised 
step when Maurice in his later years (598 or 599) reverted, as Justin had 
done before him, to a policy of religious persecution. By endeavouring 
to force Chalcedonian orthodoxy on Mesopotamia he effected little save 
the alienation of his subjects. It was left to Heraclius to follow Tiberius 
in choosing the better part and endeavouring by conciliation to introduce 
union amongst the warring parties. But the great blot on the reign of 
Maurice is his favouritism towards incapable officials; the ability of men 
like Narses and Priscus had to give place to the incompetency of Peter 
and the treachery of Comentiolus. ‘Time and again their blunders were 
overlooked and new distinctions forced upon them. The fear that a 
victorious general of to-day might be the successful rival of to-morrow 
gave but a show of justification to this ruinous partiality. 

But despite all criticisms Maurice remains a high-minded, conscien- 
tious, independent, hard-working ruler, and if other proof of his 
worth were lacking it is to be found in the universal hatred of his 

Other executions followed those of Maurice and his sons: Comentiolus 
and Peter were slain, while Alexander dragged Theodosius from the 
sanctuary of Autonomus and killed both him and the praefect Constantine. 
Constantina and her three daughters were confined in a private house. 
Phocas was master of the capital. But elsewhere throughout the Empire 
men refused to ratify the army’s choice: through Anatolia and Cilicia, 
through the Roman province of Asia and in Palestine, through Ilyricum 
and in Thessalonica civil war was raging’: on every side the citizens 
rose in rebellion against the assassin whom Pope Gregory and the 
older Rome delighted to honour; even in Constantinople itself a plot 
hatched by Germanus was only suppressed after a great part of the city 
had been destroyed by fire. The ex-empress as a result of these disorders 
was now immured with her daughters in a convent, while Philippicus and 
Germanus were forced to become priests. 

A persistent rumour affirmed that Theodosius was still alive; for a 
time Phocas himself must have believed the report, for he put to death 
his agent Alexander ; furthermore Chosroes was thus furnished with a 
fair-sounding pretext for an invasion of the Empire: he came as avenger 
of Maurice to whom he owed his throne, and as restorer of Maurice’s heir. 
When in the spring of 603 Phocas despatched Lilius to the Persian court 
to announce his accession, the ambassador was thrown into chains, and in 
an arrogant letter Chosroes declared war on Rome. About this time! 

' Cf. H. Gelzer, Die Genesis, ete., pp. 36 ff. 

603—609 | Victories of Persia 285 

also (603) Narses revolted, seized Edessa and appealed to Persia for 
support. Germanus, now in command of the eastern army, marched 
to Edessa with orders to recover the city. In the spring of 604 
Chosroes led his forces against the Empire, and while part encamped 
round Dara, he himself made for Edessa to attack the Romans who 
were themselves besieging Narses. As day broke the Persians fell 
upon Germanus, who was defeated and eleven days later died of his 
wounds in Constantina; his men fled in confusion. Chosroes, it would 
appear, entered Edessa, and (according to the Armenian historian 
Sebeos) Narses introduced to the Persian king a young man whom he 
represented to be Theodosius ; the pretender was gladly welcomed by 
Chosroes, who then retired to Dara, where the Romans still resisted the 
besiegers. On the news of the death of Germanus Phocas realised that 
all the forces which he could raise were needed for the war in Asia. He 
increased the annual payments to the Avars, and withdrew the regiments 
from Thrace (605?). Some of the troops under the command of the 
eunuch Leontius were ordered to invest Edessa, though Narses soon 
escaped from this city and reached Hierapolis; the rest of the army 
marched against Persia, but at Arxamon, between Edessa and Nisibis, 
Chosroes won a great victory and took numerous captives; about this 
time, after a year and a half’s siege, the walls of Dara were undermined, 
the fortress captured and the inhabitants massacred. Laden with booty 
the Persian monarch returned to Ctesiphon, leaving Zongoes in command 
in Asia. Leontius was disgraced, and Phocas appointed his cousin Domen- 
tiolus curopalates and general-in-chief. Narses was induced to surrender 
on condition that no harm should be done to him; Phocas disregarded 
the oath and Rome’s best general was burned alive in the capital. 
Meanwhile Armenia was devastated by civil war and Persian invasion : 
Karin opened its gates to the pretended son of Maurice, and Chosroes 
established a marzpan in Dovin. In the year after the siege of Dara (606) 
Sahrbaraz and Kardarigan entered Mesopotamia and the country border- 
ing on the frontier of Syria; among the towns which surrendered were 
Amida and Resaina. In 607 Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia were over- 
run; in 608 Kardarigan in conjunction, it seems, with Sahin marched 
north-west and, while the latter occupied Cappadocia, spending a year 
(608-609) in Caesarea which was evacuated by the Christians, the former 
made forays into Paphlagonia and Galatia, penetrating even as far west 
as Chalcedon. In fact the Roman world at this time fell into a state of 
anarchy, and passions which had long smouldered burst into flame. Blues 
and Greens fought out their feuds in the streets of Antioch, Jerusalem 
and Alexandria, while on every side men easily persuaded themselves 
that’ Theodosius yet lived. Even in Constantinople Germanus thought 

1 Appointed to supersede Narses shortly before Maurice’s death, the Emperor 
being anxious to meet the objections of Persia. 

CH. IX. 

286 Plot and Counterplot [ 605-608 

that he could turn to his own profit the popular belief. Our authorities 
are unsatisfactory but it would seem that two distinct plots with different 
aims were set on foot. There was a conspiracy among the highest court 
officials headed by the praetorian praefect of the East, Theodorus : 
Elpidius, governor of the imperial arsenal, was willing to supply arms, 
and Phocas was to be slain in the Hippodrome. Theodorus himself 
would then be proclaimed emperor. Of this plan Germanus obtained 
warning, and for his part determined to anticipate the scheme by play- 
ing upon the public sympathy for the house of Maurice. While nominally 
championing the cause of Theodosius, he doubtless intended to secure for 
himself the supreme power. Through a certain Petronia he entered into 
communication with Constantina, but Petronia betrayed the secret to 
Phocas. Under torture Constantina accused Germanus of complicity and 
he in turn implicated others. The rival plot met with no better success. 
Anastasius, who had been present at the breakfast council where the 
project was discussed, repented of his treason and informed the Emperor. 
On 7 June 605 Phocas wreaked his vengeance on the court officials, and 
about the same time Germanus, Constantina and her three daughters met 
their deaths. 

Alarms and suspicions haunted the Emperor and terror goaded him 
to fresh excesses. In 607, it would seem, his daughter Domentzia 
was married to Priscus, the former general of Maurice, and when 
the demesmen raised statues to bride and bridegroom, Phocas saw 
in the act new treason and yet another attempt upon his throne. It 
was in vain that the authorities pleaded that they were but following 
long-established custom; it was only popular clamour that saved the 
demarchs Theophanes and Pamphilus from immediate execution. Even 
loyalty was proved dangerous, and anxiety for his personal safety made 
of a son-in-law a secret foe. The capital was full of plague and scarcity 
and executions: Comentiolus and all the remaining kindred of Maurice fell 
victims to the panic fear of Phocas. The Greens themselves turned against 
the Emperor, taunting him in the circus with his debauchery, and setting 
on fire the public buildings. Phocas retorted by depriving them of all 
political rights. He looked around for allies: at least he would win the 
sympathies of the orthodox in the East, as he had from the first enjoyed 
the support of Rome. Anastasius, Jacobite patriarch of Alexandria, was 
expelled: Syria and Egypt, he decreed, should choose no ecclesiastical 
dignitary without his authorisation. Before the common attack, Mono- 
physite Antioch and Alexandria determined to sink their differences. In 
608 the patriarchs met in the Syrian capital. The local authorities 
interfered, but the Jacobite populace was joined by the Jews in their 
resistance to the imperial troops. The orthodox patriarch was slain and 
the rioters gained the day. Phocas despatched Cotton and Bonosus, 
count of the East, to Antioch; with hideous cruelty their mission was 
accomplished, and the Emperor’s authority with difficulty re-established. 

608 | Africa revolts under Heraclius 287 

Thence Bonosus departed for J erusalem, where the faction fights of Blues 
and Greens had spread confusion throughout the city. 

The tyrant was still master within the capital, but Africa was 
preparing the expedition which was to cause his overthrow. In 607, 
or at latest 608, Heraclius, formerly general of Maurice and now exarch, 
with his baoetpatrnyos Gregory, was planning rebellion. The news 
reached the ears of Priscus, who had learned to fear his father-in- 
law’s animosity, and negotiations were opened between the Senate and 
the Pentapolis: the aristocracy was ready to give its aid should a 
liberator reach the capital. Obviously such a promise was of small 
value, and Heraclius was forced to rely upon his own resources. But 
he was at this time advanced in life, and to his son Heraclius and to 
Gregory’s son Nicetas was entrusted the execution of the plot. It is only 
of recent years, through the discovery of the chronicle of John of Nikiou, 
that we have been able to construct the history of the operations. First 
Nicetas was to invade Egypt and secure Alexandria, then Heraclius 
would take ship for Thessalonica, and from this harbour as his base he 
would direct his attack upon Constantinople. 

During the year 608, 3000 men were raised in the Pentapolis, and 
these, together with Berber troops, were placed under the command 
of Bonakis (a spelling which doubtless hides a Roman name) who 
defeated without difficulty the imperial generals. Leontius, the 
praefect of Mareotis, was on the side of Heraclius, and the governor 
of Tripolis arrived with reinforcements. High officials were con- 
spiring to support the rebels in Alexandria itself, when the plot was 
revealed to Theodore, the imperialist patriarch. When the news reached 
Phocas he forthwith ordered the praefect of Byzantium to convey fresh 
troops with all speed to Alexandria and the Delta fortresses, while 
Bonosus, who was contemplating a seizure of the patriarch of Jerusalem, 
was summoned to leave the Holy City and to march against Nicetas. 
On the latter’s advance, Alexandria refused to surrender, but resist- 
ance was short-lived, and the patriarch and general met their deaths. 
Treasure, shipping, the island and fortress of Pharos, all fell into the 
hands of Nicetas!, while Bonakis received the submission of many of the 
Delta towns. At Caesarea, where Bonosus took ship, he heard of the 
capture of Alexandria, and while his cavalry pursued the land route, 
his fleet in two divisions sailed up the Nile by the Pelusiac channel and 
by the main eastern arm of the river. At first Bonosus carried all before 
him and inflicted a crushing defeat near Manif on the generals of 
Heraclius, thereby reconquering the Delta for Phocas, but he was repulsed 
from Alexandria with heavy loss and suffered so severely in a fresh 
advance from his base at Nikiou that he was forced to abandon Egypt 

1 According to Theophanes the corn-ships of Alexandria were prevented from 
reaching the capital from 608 onwards. 

CH. IX. 

288 Fall of Phocas [ 609-610 

and to flee through Asia to Constantinople’. ‘The imperialist resistance 
was at an end and the new rule was established in Egypt (apparently 
end of 609). 

We have no certain information as to what the younger Heraclius 
was doing during the year 609, but it seems not unlikely that it was at 
this time that he occupied Thessalonica, for here he could draw rein- 
forcements from the European malcontents. It is at least clear that, 
when he finally started in 610 on his voyage to Constantinople, he 
gathered supporters from the sea-side towns and from the islands on 
his route. At the beginning of September, it would seem, he cast 
anchor at Abydus in Mysia, where he was joined by those whom Phocas 
had driven into exile. Crossing the Propontis he touched at Heraclea 
and Selimbria, and at the small island of Calonymus the Church, through 
the bishop of Cyzicus, blessed his enterprise. On Saturday, 3 Oct., the 
fleet, with images of the Virgin at the ships’ mastheads, sailed under the 
sea-walls of the capital. But in face of the secret treachery of Priscus 
and the open desertion of the demesmen